This is a guest post by Sarah of Same Difference
Earlier this week, BBC Radio 4’s In Touch ran a programme called Visually Impaired British Asians.
The programme looked at the specific issues affecting British Asians with visual impairments. Research has suggested that South Asians are more likely to have several eye diseases than the general population. However, expectations among their community about what they are able to do are limited.
The programme raised the very important point that awareness of sight loss related diseases needs to be raised among British Asians in order to prevent them. The importance of eye tests was also emphasised.
For several reasons, British Asians may be missing out on support that is available to people with visual impairments. The programme looked at some of these reasons. For example, many older Asians in Britain are unable to speak or read English.
As part of the programme, presenter Peter White spoke to a South Asian adviser for the RNIB, who speaks to patients in their own languages. She raised the point that older British Asians are used to natural, holistic remedies for health problems and may find medical solutions, such as laser surgery, too extreme.
Peter White also spoke to a South Asian social worker who is registered blind herself. She now has her own organisation helping other South Asian people with sight loss. She recalled the case of one woman who could not believe that blind people could leave their houses! This woman, herself, had not been allowed, by her husband, to leave her house. The point was raised that for cultural reasons, South Asians think that if people with sight loss leave home alone, they are not being looked after and protected well enough by the family.
Finally, the point was raised that organisations need to be sensitive to the cultural needs of South Asians.
I found the programme very interesting and very educational. I believe that this is a programme that all British Asians of all ages really need to hear. If you agree, please click this link to listen to it on BBC iPlayer.
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Filed in: Current affairs,Disability