By Mariam Namakula
During their scientific cerebrations to mark the international Albinism Awareness Day held on Sunday 13 June in Jinja, Albinos expressed their worry over the surge in of cancer cases among them.
According to Peter Ogik, Chairperson Source of the Nile Union of Persons with Albinism (SNUPA), the numbers of the Persons with Albinism getting cancer have vigorously increased especially during these pandemic times
Ogik said the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly the lockdown greatly affected Albinos as most of them struggled to acquire even the basic needs of life.
“During lockdown many Albinos failed to access medical services and thus couldn’t acquire health products such as the sun screen lotions for the skin,” he said, adding that the matters escalated more when even those that had been listed for their surgeries could not make it due to the transport limitations.
“The government should add Albinos to the list of essential workers.” he said.
Many Albinos develop skin cancers before reaching the age of 30 years.
The cancer occurs on the head or neck, areas usually more exposed to solar radiation.
Given their high sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) light, these therefore need total sun protection and should undergo regular skin exams every six months or less.
Ogik also noted that there was much needed support from the government.
“We cannot read tiny materials well and yet all the reading materials that were provided by government were composed of tiny materials,” he emphasized.
Albinos remain an important portion of Uganda’s population and the world at large. Tanzania has the highest number of “People Living With Albinism” in East Africa.