JINJA – Uganda on Wednesday joins the rest of the world to mark the 4th International Albinism Day, under the theme, ‘Shinning our Light To The World’ , with celebrations at Busoga Square in Jinja district led by Source of the Nile Union Persons with Albinism.(SNUPA), an NGO that aims at creating awareness for albinism.
United Nations set this day to create awareness following the extreme human rights abuses faced by people with albinism worldwide.
Speaking in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday June 11, 2018, ahead of this year’s International Albinism Awareness Day, U.N. independent expert on the enjoyment of human rights by people with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero said this year’s theme was chosen to recognise and affirm all positive steps that have been taken and ongoing in regards to building positive community and space for people with albinism.
Free skin cancer screening and treatment will be offered to people living with Albinism that will make it to the celebrations in Jinja on Wednesday as these celebrations will host and officiate the use of Cryogun(a skin cancer machine) used for treatments of pre cancerous cells.
Skin cancer is said to be a major problem faced by people with albinism as they lack melanin, a pigment in the body that determines the colour of the skin, hair, eyes and nails and also protects the skin from Ultra Violet radiation by acting as a sunscreen by absorbing some UV rays before skin cell DNA is damaged, so people with the dis-congenital disorder are easily affected by UV rays leading to sun burns and later cancer.
More than 4,000 people in Uganda are said to be living with Albinism and 98% of persons with albinism in East Africa are said to die of skin cancer before clocking 40 years of age.
People living with Albinism in Uganda asked government to enact policies that support persons living with albinism by declaring sunscreen a drug not a cosmetic since it protects them from the UV rays, ensure inclusive employment of PWAs, consider albinism a special need and print exams with bigger fonts and social inclusion.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga pledged to employ at least one person from the Albino community in January, while a run was held to create awareness about the challenges faced by people with albinism in the country as part of the celebrations of the parliamentary week.
Albinos are still profoundly misunderstood socially due to the myths and superstitions surrounding their physical appearance which fosters their marginalization and social exclusion.