The Anambra State Albinism Association (ASAA), has said it lost three members to skin cancer in five months.
Miss Vivian Ezeonwumelu, Chairperson, ASAA, made the disclosure while speaking to newsmen in Awka, to mark the International Albinism Awareness Day commemorated every June 13.
The International Albinism Awareness Day was instituted by the United Nations’ General Assembly on Dec.18, 2014, to promote the awareness creation in the society on issues of Persons with Albinism so as to curb the rate of marginalisation and stigmatisation.
The theme for this year’s commemoration is – “United in Making Our Voice Heard”.
Ezeonwumelu lamented that majority of persons with Albinism (PWA) had no access to treatment due to poverty, ignorance, myths and misconceptions about albinism.
According to her, due to lack of melanin, their skin pigment are vulnerable to skin cancers, hair and eye defects.
She urged the state government to establish a healthcare support scheme for persons with Albinism to reduce the rate of death due to skin cancer.
“We need free or subsidised medical care to reduce the rate of Skin Cancer in the Albinism community. Just in the space of five months we lost three of our members to Skin Cancer.
“We are appealing to government to sponsor seminars where Dermatologists and Eye Doctors can come to run check up for PWA at least once in six months.
“Children or students with Albinism should also be allowed to wear long sleeves and wide brimmed hats to school. To protect them from the Ultraviolet radiation from the Sun that exposes them to Skin cancer, ” she said.
Also speaking, Mrs Ify Obinabo, Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, encouraged persons with Albinism to always work on their self-esteem and disregard the negative perception the society had towards them.
“No human on earth is ever complete, therefore, refuse to be intimidated by the perceptions of the public. In you lies great potentials waiting to be explored,” she said.
In his remarks, Mr Ugochukwu Okeke, Chairman, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, Anambra Chapter, said Anambra was the only state in the South East that had a law to protect the rights of persons with disabilities.
Okeke urged Gov. Charles Soludo’s led-administration to consolidate on the existing achievements by implementing the law to alleviate the plight of PWDs in the state.