KAMPALA – The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has called for the registration of people living with albinism right from their villages as a way to help the government plan for this group efficiently.
The Speaker was on Monday, January 20 addressing guests at Parliament who had taken part in the 4.5km walk that was intended to raise awareness about albinism in the country as well as fundraise for the construction of Albinism Rehabilitation center.
The Speaker said that Persons Living with Albinism have so long been side-lined while capturing various groups in the national census exercise yet this has always been key guidance as government plans for its people.
“The head of the group said that those who wanted to be registered were the ones registered, that is a very serious issue. I have been reading about our census data, there is nothing on albinism, I think now, we should adjust those categories and have the albinos registered so we know how many we have in the country so that we can plan for them. The LCs should register them, they live somewhere, they don’t live on trees,” said the Speaker.
The Speaker also wondered why despite an earlier recommendation to remove taxes on sunscreens and other equipment that aid persons with albinism to mitigate their health conditions, the government hasn’t exempted these items from taxation. Kadaga said the continued existence of these taxes has compounded the albinos with a number of challenges including low vision, sun damage resulting in skin cancer, as well as widespread discrimination often resulting from ignorance about the cause of the condition.
Speaker Kadaga wants cabinet to passionately discuss issues of concern of people living with albinism so that they also enjoy the privileges that other groups of people enjoy.
It is estimated that about 50,000 people live with albinism in Uganda. The proposed Rehabilitation center is to cost Shs50bn and today’s fundraising drive resulted into a collection of Shs54M.
Clerk to Parliament, Jane Kibirige revealed some of the pledges including; Uganda Muslim Council Shs5M, Office of the Leader of the Opposition Shs5M, Busoga Parliamentary Group Shs3M, Department of Research at Parliament Shs2.5m, Office of the Clerk Shs30m
The chairperson Albinism umbrella in Uganda Olive Namutebi is worried that 50% of children living with albinism don’t go to school because of poverty and still face challenges of failure to get creams given their delicate skins, stigma and discrimination among others.
The albinism walk and fundraising kick start a full week activity for the parliament week whose main aim is to raise awareness to the public of the activities done by parliament.
This years’ activities will run under the theme; “Building a strong democracy in Uganda.