With over six million Nigerians suffering from albinism along with its numerous challenges, the Albino Foundation Thursday commenced additional measures aimed at saving those with the condition from cancer and other threats.
As part of the measures, albinos were told Thursday at a conference to herald a one-week National Albinism Day celebration that they must be proactive to avoid anything that would endanger their lives.
A speaker, Dr. Stella Chijioke, said in her presentation on “Healthy Living for Persons with Albinism” that albinos and other Nigerians should also seek pre-marital counselling to avoid the proliferation of albinism.
Noting that there was no cure for albinism, she said treatment was often given to ease symptoms.
Founder/CEO of the Albino Foundation, Mr. Jake Epelle, urged the federal government to declare May 5 as a national day for albinism to enable sufficient attention to be paid to those with the condition.
Albinism is an inherited condition characterised by the lack of the pigment melanin in the hair, skin or eyes, making those with the condition susceptible to many diseases, most common of which is cancer of the skin.
This year’s Albinism Day has the theme, “Albinism and National Development: Strengthening Advocacy for National Policy on Albinism.”
He said: “People with albinism get free cancer treatment. We have been enjoying that. But once again, it is only in Abuja. And you can imagine over six million persons with albinism focusing on just one hospital. All the six million of us are susceptible to having skin cancer; including me.”
He decried the “cultural practices which discriminate and unleash inhuman treatment on albinos in Nigeria.”
Such practices, he added, started in Delta State where people killed albinos, using them supposedly for traditional beliefs.