By Sofia Ali
13th June 13, 2020. The albinism society of Kenya today joined the rest the world to celebrate this year’s edition of International Albinism Awareness Day celebrations held on the 13th of june annually.
Speaking during this year’s 5th celebrations dubbed “Made To Shine”, held at their headquarters in Nairobi, Albinism Society of Kenya Chairman Isaac Mwaura has asked the government to include them in the Covid 19 stimulus package to cushion Persons With Albinism. “ASK calls upon the government to ensure that all PWAs that are vulnerable, be covered under the cash transfer program for Covid19. The NCPWD should device means to ensure that all PWAs access the essential products such as sunscreen during this period.” Said Mwaura.
Senator Mwaura further expressed his deep concern on the widespread discrimination, stigmatization, dehumanization and brutal killings of persons with albinism in the country and across East Africa and the World all together.
Mwaura articulated issues affecting persons with albinism such as the ritual killings that remain a threat to them in Kenya and Africa at large.
With a population of less than 10,000 in Kenya many of this minority group are at risk due to killings that occur especially during the elections time. “These incidences have a nexus with election cycle or drought/famine. It can therefore be said that ire symptomatic of state failure and the inadequacy of democratic practice in Africa to resolve political contestation” He said.
In the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic, persons with albinism say they continue to struggle with skin cancer which is one of the biggest trials they say many have lost their lives to. However they are grateful to the government for the aid they have received. “The latest beneficiary of the skin cancer treatment program is Bosco Wakoko, a teacher from Mt Elgon and who works in Uganda. Many have died this way and thankfully, we have some form of intervention and we don’t have to dig deep in to our pockets to help one of our own to meet the huge medical bills that average about $3,000.” Said Mwaura.
Persons with albinism are victims of marginalization, discrimination and stigmatization, abduction and trafficking which make them vulnerable to violent attacks. They also face socioeconomic challenges which negatively contribute to their overall situation. They are now prone to names society has imposed on them which is degrading their self-esteem. Persons with albinism in the country have difficulty claiming their rights due to the false myths and perceptions about the condition.
He recommended that there is need for more public awareness on the needs and challenges of persons with albinism globally, especially in Africa in order to reduce the discrimination.