The effectiveness of using pictograms and text on medication labels at primary healthcare facilities in Cape Town
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Background 2 Medication labels are often the only information available to patients after obtaining medication 3 from the pharmacy or other healthcare practitioners. Inappropriately designed medicine labelling 4 contributes to poor interpretation and improper use, which could adversely affect patient health 5 outcomes. In developing countries, pictograms (pictures representing words or phrases), on 6 medicine labels tend to support patients’ ability to read, understand and recall information. 7 8 Objective 9 This comparative study examined low-literate participants’ interpretation of ‘text-and-pictogram’ 10 instructions versus ‘routine text-only’ instructions relative to the intended medicine use 11 instructions on an oral rehydration (OR) dry mixture sachet in public sector Community Health 12 Centres (CHCs) in Cape Town. 13 14 Method 15 CHCs, (n=4) from Tygerberg (Cape Town) sub-district were recruited. Two trained data collectors 16 recruited participants from the paediatric section’s waiting area. Participants were either shown an 17 OR medicine label containing both “text-and-pictograms” (experimental group) and one 18 containing “routine text-only” (control group) instructions. Data regarding understanding of six 19 instructions for use on the medicine label were recorded. Responses were scored according to a 3-20 point Likert scale and compared for each question, to calculate which of the experimental or 21 control group answered better. Responses to the questions to explain the observed deviation 22 between the participant interpretation of the label and the intended message of the label, was noted. 23 Responses were recorded and transcribed. Open-ended questions regarding label interpretation and 24 preference were thematically analysed.