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Govt must address plight of people with albinism

The government has been urged to look into the plight of people with albinism and assist them with free sun protection products and cancer screening services.

Albinism is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited condition which occurs worldwide regardless of ethnicity or gender. It commonly results in the lack of melanin in the hair, skin, and eyes, causing vulnerability to sun exposure.

Speaking to CITE, the Deputy Director for the Noble Hands Zimbabwe Trust and National Director for the Albinism Konect wing, Marvellous Tshuma said the survival of people with albinism are feeling the effects of the lockdown.

“The Lockdown is going to affect us very much in so many ways, the cost of living is high. About 45% of people with albinism cannot afford sunscreen lotions, because they are not working,” said Tshuma.

She said most people buy their sunscreen lotions from South Africa where they are affordable.

“Most have been receiving their lotions from SA and since the borders are closed the price locally is too high and they won’t afford,” she said.

Tshuma also appealed for assistance with free cancer screening services for people with albinism.

“We have five cancer patients from across the country, the first one from Gokwe she is 47, the cancer is spreading all over the upper abdomen, and the head, the second one is from Magunje she is 28 she has a tumour on the right side of the ear which is growing very fast, the third one is in Muzarabani she is 38 she has life threatening cancer tumours around the neck and spreading to the head.

 “The fourth one is in Bulawayo she has lacerations and sores all over the body which are failing to heal, the last one is in Beitbridge and has a big tumour on the left side of the cheek, she is the most critical she doesn’t have long, the doctors have hinted that her cancer is now advanced hence difficult to cure, l am really disturbed that all these cases could have been prevented if they had constant access to sunscreen lotions,” said Tshuma.

She added that there is a need for empowerment opportunities for people with albinism so that they can be self-sustainable.

“My call goes up from ordinary Zimbabweans to the leadership of this nation to look into the welfare and critical issues affecting people with albinism in both rural and urban centres. Access to free cancer screening procedures, access to affordable health care, subsidising of Sunscreen lotions like what is done on condoms.

“Empowerment opportunities for people with albinism so that they become self-sustained and they buy their needs on their own (long term goal) this will be achieved by skills training and development, home-based industries etc,” said Tshuma.

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