Challenges facing Albinos as International Albinism Day is marked

Are Albinos humans like everyone else?

Why do they have a different skin color?

These and more are some questions often asked about Albinos.

It is good to know that Albinos are just like you and I but they suffer from Albinism, a genetic condition characterised by reduction in melanin production in the skin, eyes and hair.

Melanin is the agent that protects the skin from sun damage, its absence in Albinos makes them to have striking physical features and visual problems.

It is not their fault that they are born different, it is genetic and it runs in some families, hence with the right family history, anyone can be an albino.

Due to their different skin color, many albinos face discrimination, social exclusion, insults, abuse and in some instances are exposed to unwarranted murder.

This is why the International Albinism Awareness Day is observed every 13rh June to create awareness about this special class of people and the challenges they face.

A dermatologist, Dr Hamida Bello recommended availability of cost-effective medical management for Albinos in view of the various Health challenge they face.

“They face a variety of mental and medical issues. They have an abnormality of vision, suffer from photodermatoses which could lead to skin cancer. They need ophthalmological services in correcting myopia, nystagmus and other visual problems they may have. They also need access to dermatologists, plastic surgeons as well as a psychotherapists.”

Dr Bello urged government to intensify efforts to cater for the health and education needs of Albinos for them to have a sense of belonging.

On discrimination and abuse, a legal practitioner, Mrs Folake Ajayi warned that such should not be perpetrated against albinos as their rights were protected under the law like everyone else.”

“You are a citizen of Nigeria and every right that every other citizen should enjoy you enjoy whether an albino or not”.

Narrating his experience as an albino, Promoter, Albino Movement Nigeria, Mr Kola Olomide said one way to live above these issues is for parents to ensure that they expose their special children to good education to empower them.

This he said will make it possible for the child to compete favourably in the society.

Mr Olomide urged people around albinos to show them love, protect them from the sun and abuse.

Teachers were also advised to pay particular attention to Albinos to help them sail through in their academics.

Anthonia Akanji


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