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#MindfulMondays with Miss SA

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Research on Depression in the Workplace.

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Mental Health Matters Journal for Psychiatrists & GP's

MHM Volume 8 Issue1

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If you are a journalist writing a story contact Kayla on 011 234 4837  media@anxiety.org.za


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Literacy is a luxury that many of us take for granted. That is why SADAG created SPEAKING BOOKS and revolutionized the way healthcare information is delivered to low literacy communities.

The customizable 16-page book, read by local celebrity audio recordings, ensures that vital health and social messages can be seen, heard, read and understood by everyone across the world.

We started with books on Teen Suicide prevention , HIV, AIDS and Depression, Understanding Mental Health and have developed over 100+ titles, such as TB, Malaria, Polio, Vaccines for over 45 countries.

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The Speaking Book was developed by a South African NGO, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), as an innovative educational tool for low literacy patients. The Books’ target market is primarily rural, vulnerable and excluded people living in disadvantaged regions of South Africa, and the world. Using simple technology to reach those who cannot read, the pages of the Speaking Books are big, bright and full of colourful drawings. By pressing one of 16 buttons on the cover, the listener can activate a 30 second audio message that follows the text of each page of the book thus effectively imparting crucial health care messages to rural citizens, people with low literacy skills, patients too sick to read, and children. Using the voices of local celebrities - who lend their names – and voices – to this innovation, the Books are recorded in various languages to meet the demand and need of the community they will be serving.

These Books were developed in South Africa in response to the high illiteracy rate in the country - over 30% of its adults functionally illiterate and 16% of the South African population has no schooling at all. Low literacy is a major problem that seriously reduces the effectiveness of health care literature and education.

Informed Consent in the process of participation in a Clinical Trial is vital for the trial to be ethical. Patients need to know, and understand their rights and responsibilities before signing up for a Clinical Trial. However, due to poor literacy, and low levels of comprehension, particularly in developing countries, many participants do not fully understand what they are signing up for. For example, in one South African study only 28% of participants knew the aim of the Clinical Trial while 88% of women felt they has no choice whether or not to take part. Moodley et al found that in another study, only 19% of participants understood what a placebo was.

With this in mind and in order to combat the problem of low literacy hindering the informed consent process of those wishing to tae part in a Clinical Trial, SADAG partnered with Pfizer, the WMA and the Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics and developed a Speaking Book on understanding the Clinical Trial process. The Book helps patients in their understanding of Clinical Trials - what their rights and responsibilities are, what they can expect as a participant of a Clinical Trial - and in their ability to give Informed Consent.

This Book – "Understanding your Clinical Trial" – will be piloted in South Africa and will hopefully be the first in a series of Speaking Books in collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry to responsibly and ethically educate patients in all areas.


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