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At the National Federation of the Blind annual convention, members recognized the importance of advocating for accessible technology so that blind and visually impaired diabetics would have the means to self-manage their diabetes. The following resolution was passed, stating that the NFB supports and commends the work of companies developing accessible technology for diabetes.
Whereas, diabetics need to measure the level of glucose in their blood accurately in order to control their diabetes and to reduce the risk of diabetic complications; and
Whereas, tens of thousands of diabetics need nonvisual access to blood glucose meters because diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults of working age in the United States, with thousands losing their vision each year; and
Whereas, the need for nonvisual access is even greater because many blind and visually impaired senior citizens become diabetic and many diabetic senior citizens lose vision, either temporarily or permanently, from causes other than diabetes; and
Whereas, the ultimate solution to this impediment to independent self-care is to create affordable, accessible meters by adding speech technology and accessibility features to all new blood glucose meters developed for sale in the United States; and
Whereas, diabetics with vision have access to a dizzying array of state-of-the-art glucose testing technology with advanced features, such as shorter test times, smaller blood sampling requirements, and portable size, and some products such as the Prodigy line made by Diagnostic Devices—including the Basic and the AutoCode—are even making use of voice technology to speak the blood glucose level immediately following a test, but are nevertheless not truly accessible to blind diabetics; and
Whereas, Roche Diagnostics, the leading provider of accessible diabetes testing technology available to blind and visually impaired diabetics in the United States for nearly a decade, recently took a disrespectful and cavalier approach to the needs of their loyal blind customers by discontinuing their decade-old VoiceMate system before introducing another accessible alternative; and
Whereas, in contrast, Diagnostic Devices, Inc, maker of the Prodigy line, took a more positive approach by seeking guidance from blind diabetics in the National Federation of the Blind in the development of an even more accessible meter called the ProdigyVoice; and
Whereas, BBI Health Care, distributors of the SensoCard Plus, a talking meter popular with blind diabetics in the United Kingdom, Australia and Europe, where it has been available for years, has recently applied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval to market the SensoCard Plus in the United States: Now, therefore
Be it resolved, by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 2007, in the City of Atlanta, Georgia, that this organization applaud and commend the developers of the ProdigyVoice for their exemplary commitment to making affordable and accessible blood glucose meters, their willingness to seek input of blind consumers and their success in integrating this advice to create a glucose meter which blind people can use independently, and
Be it further resolved that this organization urge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expedite the approval of the SensoCard Plus in addition to any other blood glucose meters that enhance the access of blind users for marketing in the United States consistent with best practices and safety standards; and
Be it further resolved that this organization establish Non-Visual accessibility certification standards for diabetes technology to promote the development of truly accessible products.