UAE launches new community service for blind and deaf people of determination

Abu Dhabi will be served first, but organisers intend to cover all the emirates


Samira Al Zaher reads a Quraan in Braille.

Samira lost her sight a year an half ago. Her then husband left her nine years ago with a child, Mohammed. Due to a hospital hiccup, and a technical error in Mohammed's birth certificate, Samira has been struggling for nine years to get him a residency visa in the UAE. 

After reaching out for help, The Crown Prince of Ajman has stepped in and helped her get a UAE residency for her son, and enrolled him in a private school.

(Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National)

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The UAE government launched a new service to help deaf and blind people get easier access to medicines.

The community initiative called Wasfat – which means "prescriptions" in Arabic – is organised by the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination (ZHO).

It will help those who need it by providing instructions in Braille for the blind and sign language for the deaf.

The ZHO has always been keen to launch and support various initiatives that serve all groups of people of determination

The ZHO signed a memorandum of understanding with Reyada Management of Medical Facilities and the Medicina Pharmacies Group.

The goal is to provide medical prescriptions in ways that are accessible for people of determination.

Wasfat also aims to encourage independent living.

Dosage instructions will be shared in Braille and by sign language videos, thereby avoiding unnecessary contact with strangers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative also includes a sign language hotline to serve the deaf by video call.

Medicines will be delivered straight to the home with appropriate instructions attached.

Abu Dhabi is home to about 950 visually impaired residents and an estimated 1,300 who have hearing impairments.

Soon all people of determination across the UAE will be catered for by this service, according to the ZHO.

"Wasfat is aimed at serving the order and delivery of medicines and explaining how to use them in the appropriate languages for people of determination," said Abdulla Alhumaidan, ZHO general secretary.

"The ZHO has always been keen to launch and support various initiatives that serve all groups of people of determination."

People with hearing impairments can struggle, especially those who are illiterate or find it difficult to read instructions, Mr Alhumaidan said.

Medicina Pharmacies Group is developing the  initiative and training staff, patients and relative in the use of the service.

"We will extend our services and deliver the medications to their respective residences throughout the emirate of Abu Dhabi covering Abu Dhabi City, Al Dhafra region and Al Ain City," said Dr Abdul Rauf El Jabour, the chief of  Medicina.

"We are honoured to be in line with the strategies of the UAE government and we are proud to be part of this initiative that improves the life for people who face audio-visual challenges."