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Albinos seek inclusion in health, education policies

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The Albino Network Association (TANA) has urged the government to address the barriers that Persons With Albinism (PWA) confront in their struggle to access healthcare services and employment in Nigeria.

TANA raised the concerns ahead of the 2021 International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD), marked every June 13.

Its chairman Mr Jaiyeola Fatungase said: “Though in Nigeria, killing and maiming of Persons living with Albinism is rare, the stigma associated with the condition is debilitating.

“Many PWAs across communities in Nigeria continue to bear the burden of skin cancer even though it is preventable if detected early.

“Poverty, social exclusion, scarce and expensive sunscreen, as well as non-inclusion of PWAs in the health policy of the government is an infringement of our right to health and makes skin cancer a major threat to our longevity especially for those in rural areas.

“As one of the marginalised groups left farther behind, we must begin to be included in health interventions as envisaged by the maxim of ‘leaving no one behind’ propounded by the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The association also bemoaned the high cost associated with educating children with albinism due to scarce and expensive assistive devices such as magnifiers, sunscreen, and sun-shielding clothing.

“Absence of reading materials in large print, lack of magnifiers for reading, non-allotment of more time during exams due to their vision impairment are some of the non-inclusive policies on education that hinder the performance of pupils with albinism,” TANA said.

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