Albinos in Anambra seek support to prevent skin cancer

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Anambra State Albinism Association has urged the state government to establish a healthcare support scheme for persons living with albinism to reduce the rate of death due to skin cancer.

Ms Vivian Ezeonwumelu, Chairperson of the group, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, in Awka, that skin cancer was a big problem among albinos in the state.

Ezeonwumelu lamented that majority of persons living with albinism had no access to treatment due to poverty, ignorance, myths and misconceptions about albinism.

According to her, due to lack of melanin, their skin pigment are vulnerable to skin cancers and eye defects.

“The sun and society are hostile to the albinos. Due to our melanin-deficient skin, whenever we expose ourselves to sun, it causes skin cancer due to the effect of ultraviolet rays from sunlight.

“Many albinos die every year because they cannot access quality healthcare or afford to pay for the treatment of skin cancer. As such they need healthcare support scheme from the state government.

“The healthcare support can also cover low-vision aids as well regular ophthalmology review to prevent ocular complications,” she said.

Ezeonwumelu also urged the state government to train teacher on how to handle persons with disabilities in schools, especially the albinos, to prevent any form of discrimination.

She advocated allowing persons living with albinism to wear hats and long sleeves to school to protect their skins as well as allow them sit close to the classroom boards so they could see properly.

Ezeonwumelu also called for targeted public health educational and enlightenment programmes on albinism for caregivers and the society at large to reduce stigmatisation and marginalisation.

She urged people living with albinism to wear dark glasses, face caps, long sleeves and use the umbrella to protect themselves against the sun rays to avoid skin cancer.

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