KAMPALA – The Uganda Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has called for census of People with Albinism (PWA) saying the failure to know the number of this particular minority group has hindered their access to service delivery.
The request was made by Sylvia Muwebwa, Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission while handing over the 2018/2019 Annual Report on the Status of equal Opportunities in Uganda to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga today.
While unveiling the report, Muwebwa revealed that majority of persons living with albinism (89.5%) reported that they find challenges in accessing services like; skin cancer services, medicines like sunscreen lotions among others.
She gave an example of the Chairperson of one of the associations for the PWA in Mbale who highlighted that all hospitals and health facilities lack sunscreen lotions yet they should be considered as essential medicines for PWA.
The albinos said that the sunscreens lotions are imported into the country as cosmetics and have attracted a high rate of tax which makes them very expensive and unaffordable.
Speaker Kadaga welcomed the proposal of taking a census on people living with albinism saying it will be critical at bringing services closer to the group.
She said, “You are talking about Government taking a census on albinos, by the way they aren’t many I think they are hardly two million people so it is possible to plan for them, they aren’t many even the areas where they are, are well known. What we lack is focal point to handle their issues.”
The Speaker also said there is need for Parliament to follow up with recommendations of waiving tax on sunscreen and have it declared as an emergency drug.
“In the last Parliament, we worked hard but I think we need to go an extra mile and check whether it is really being implemented or not. The other thing we have to find out is whether the Minister of Health has registered them as an essential drug not as cosmetics because that is where it was coming rom that the tax people thought it was a cosmetic yet it wasn’t a cosmetic to albinos,” said Kadaga.