CALD communities face difficulties with medication info

During the annual Be MedicineWise week (August 19-25), NPS MedicineWise is working together with pharmacists in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities to help all Australians with knowing the language of medicines. 

This is to ensure all Australians know and understand the medications they are taking, along with understanding the instructions on how and when to take their medications. 

Veronica Nou, pharmacist in Oxley Park in Sydney’s western suburbs says pharmacists in CALD communities deal with not only language barriers but also cultural differences. 

“People of differing CALD backgrounds may find sensitive topics such as mental or sexual health much harder to discuss. They may be reluctant to question something, admit they do not understand or that they need help at all,” she continued. 

Curtis Ruhnau, pharmacist from Blacktown in Sydney’s west – a community where over 150 languages are spoken – suggests being patient when working with CALD customers. 

“Give people time to absorb the information and convert to their own language and ask any questions they may have,” added Mr Ruhnau. 

Cecilia Yoon, a Korean-speaking pharmacist in Strathfield, NSW adds that they keep lists of common terms in various languages, such as ‘take once a day’ and ‘take with meals’. 

While intern pharmacist at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Lemar Nawabi suggests the use of the Translation and Interpreting Service (TIS) if pharmacists don’t speak a certain language. 

For further information on working with CALD communities, visit –

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