Some Albino Associations have decried the prevalence of skin Cancer amongst members calling on relevance authorities to support them to tackle the menace.
Speaking during the International Albino Awareness Day ,organised by Albino Network Association of Nigeria (TANA),the Ekiti State Coordinator, SouthWest Albino, Network ,Muyiwa Abegunde disclosed that Albinism are classified amongst the vulnerable groups of the society, which includes people living with various kinds of physical disabilities. Such as skin cancer low vision .
According to him the people with albinism (PWA) in Nigeria represents one of the micro largest vulnerable groups in the country today due to their skin cancer and low vision.
He added that in spite of their stated vulnerability and strength in number, and unlike other vulnerable groups in Nigeria, they least enjoy the same level of special attention.
Abegunde said ” the need for special attention to be given to the socio-economic wellbeing of all persons with albinism and other vulnerable groups in Nigeria cannot be overemphasised. Specific areas of their lives require prime focus and special intervention. Identified areas requiring both governmental and societal intervention include healthcare and Social political economic inclusion .
” The poverty and lack of education suffered by albinism does not stem from any mental or physical disability, but mostly as a result of discrimination, exploitation, social exclusion and stigma, and in some cases the human rights abuse.
” We are calling the International Community, local, State, Federal Government under the leadership of President Mohammadu Buhari with any incoming Nigerian President in 2023 and relevant authority to support albinism related issues in Nigeria ” he added.
In his remarks ,the chairman TANA, Mr Jaiyeola Fatungase identified discrimination as a major challenge being faced by Albinos in Nigeria.
” Unemployment is a major problem confronting PWAs in Nigeria. As a result of the plethora of educational problems discussed, PWAs sometimes lack the prerequisite educational qualification to get decent indoor jobs. Hence, many PWAs are only able to engage in menial jobs in outdoor settings such as farming and hawking, which in turn expose them to the sun, resulting in the skin cancer I talked about.
“On one hand, employers discriminate against PWAs, sometimes labeling us as deficient, clumsy and whose appearance may scare other workers and clients. This is even more precarious for women with albinism, who often face sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence.
According to him, “PWAs who own businesses of their own receive low patronage because of the stigmatisation associated with albinism. They are also denied access to loan facilities and badly needed social capital needed to survive in this harsh economic climate. Due to these injustices which I have highlighted, PWAs suffer all forms of deprivation, making us poor in all ramifications. Hence, there is a cyclical relationship between albinism and poverty.
” We also call on the mass media to partner with us by enlightening the public and giving more attention to issues that concern us. ” TANA boss said