Malaysia's first Braille dental book enters Malaysia Book of Records


Universiti Malaya's Faculty of Dentistry lecturers (from left) Assoc Prof Dr Norasmatul Akma Ahmad, Dr Zahra Naimie and Dr Selva Malar Munusamy have gained entry into Malaysia Book of Records for publishing 'Colour Your World With Smile' (Book 1), the country's first Braille dental book. Photo: Nor Nazrin Nordin

'Colour Your World With Smile (Book 1)', has gained entry into the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR) as the first Braille dental book for the visually impaired community.

The book – co-authored by Universiti Malaya's Faculty of Dentistry lecturers Dr Zahra Naimie, Assoc Prof Dr Norasmatul Akma Ahmad and Dr Selva Malar Munusamy – was published last year. The bilingual book (in English and Bahasa Malaysia) caters to primary school students. It was published in partnership with the Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB).

"We are honoured that the book has been recognised by MBR. The achievement has brought pride not only to the authors but to the entire blind community that will benefit from this book," said Dr Zahra after receiving the certification from MBR at MAB in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur today.

'Colour Your World With Smile' (Book 1) has gained entry into the Malaysia Book of Records as the first Braille dental book for the visually impaired community.'Colour Your World With Smile' (Book 1) has gained entry into the Malaysia Book of Records as the first Braille dental book for the visually impaired community.The 80-page book covers the anatomy of a tooth, developmental stages of dentition (such as baby teeth and permanent teeth), functions of each type of tooth, common dental issues and oral hygiene practices.

MAB deputy president Datin Fauziah Mohd Ramly said the book will motivate visually impaired individuals to prioritise their health.

"The resource serves as a catalyst in encouraging the blind community to care for their oral hygiene proactively. The country's inaugural Braille dental book represents a significant stride towards inclusivity and accessibility.

"It not only reflects a commitment to equipping visually impaired individuals with the tools they need for informed decision-making, but also marks a turning point in healthcare education for the blind community."

During the certificate presentation ceremony, Dr Zahra and her co-authors also launched 'Colour Your World With Smile' (Book 2), which caters to secondary school students. The book provides brief descriptions of topics like tooth anatomy, dental plaque, gum disease and tooth loss. There are plans to release a third book for adults next month.

By touching the prints with my fingertips, I can identify intricate dental details, says visually impaired Nawal Khairil Anwar. Photos: Sumitha ThavanendranBy touching the prints with my fingertips, I can identify intricate dental details, says visually impaired Nawal Khairil Anwar. Photos: Sumitha Thavanendran

The authors were inspired to create the book after their undergraduate students visited MAB in May 2020 for an oral health awareness programme.

"Oral health is vital for overall well-being. Neglecting oral hygiene can lead to various issues, impacting both dental health and systemic health.

"From our visit to MAB, we learned that the blind face challenges accessing information that's primarily presented visually. A Braille dental book offers them an avenue to access crucial health-related information independently. It allows them to read and comprehend the content at their own pace and convenience, promoting self-reliance in learning," said Dr Zahra.

The team collaborated with the MAB for six months to craft the content and produce the printed Braille version of the first book.

Read the full story in StarLifestyle on Tuesday (Aug 15).


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