The Albinism Network Association (TANA) has commemorated the 2023 International Albinism Awareness Day with the theme “Inclusion is Strength.”
The International Albinism Awareness Day is marked annually on June 13, to raise awareness about Persons with Albinism (PWAs).
While speaking to journalists at the event, Mr. Jayeola Fatungase, the National President of TANA said the stigma that PWAs experience in the society is quite much despite that they can function in any capacity, like those who do not have any form of disability.
“PWAs do not lack brain, their brain is the same as that of persons without albinism. The only shortcoming is the absence of melanin, so there’s no basis for discrimination and stigmatization that we experience,” Fatugase added.
The TANA Chairman who demanded an end to such stigmatization and discrimination also requested for the inclusion of PWAs in the education, employment, and health sectors.
“PWAs should not be excluded at the local, state, and national levels. Those who are found capable should be engaged and allowed to contribute meaningfully to the development of the society,” he added.
He reiterated the need for adequate implementation of existing laws to ensure the inclusion of PWAs in the society.
Mr. Tolani Ojuri, the Chairman, Lagos State chapter of the Albinism Association of Nigeria (AAN) who spoke on the theme of the Day said “inclusion for Persons with Albinism starts from the provision of assistive devices for children with albinism in schools as well as reading aides for adults with albinism.”
With regards to healthcare provision, Ojuri noted that the social protection interventions of the Lagos State government should make provision for photochromic bifocal lenses for PWAs for their sights.
Ojuri noted that though some Non-Governmental Organizations are supporting PWAs, he said it is the responsibility of the government to provide needed support.
He also admonished PWAs to keep engaging with the government at all times.
Mrs. Sophia Mathew, the General Secretary of AAN, who commended the Lagos State Government for the support to PWAs especially with regards to education, explained that there is a tendency for PWAs to want to stay excluded because of the stigma that they experience in society.
Mathew however admonished PWAs to leverage the free education for PWDs, as provided in the Lagos State Special Peoples Law, and access quality education, to improve themselves.
She also appealed to the government to improve the status of education in the state, to ensure that PWAs benefit greatly.
The event witnessed PWAs from different chapters of TANA across South West states.