Proctecting Albinos in Cameroon

Cameroon joins the international community today 13th June to celebrate World Albinos Day. As the world commemorate this day, the government of Cameroon has not relent its efforts in facilitating their social integration and protection.

Cynthia Efopa

In Cameroon like in other parts of the world, Albinos endure some stereotypes and are subjected to prejudices and stigma. Some traditions in the West Region, South West Region and part of the North regions in Cameroon consider them as a source of ill luck and uses them to make sacrifices to gods or kill them at very tender ages. Some are even denied access to education, health care and employment opportunities. All these disbeliefs about the albinos have forced them to take the bull by the horns by creating associations aimed at sensitizing the population against theses disbeliefs and creating opportunity to learn about their skin maintenance and other related health issues concerning their skin. Albinos suffers from albinism, which according to medical experts is define as anyone who lacks or has reduced pigmentation of the body, including hair, skin nails and eyes. From the definition, it is evident that sunrays is a real damage to their health. When exposed, they are prone to low vision and skin cancer. Medical experts say there are several types of albinos, one which affects just the eyes known as occular albinism, the child eyes appear blue, grey and brown but the child may have normal skin colour while occulo-cutaneous albinism affects all part of the skin and is visible to everybody.

Faced with these multiples health and social integration challenges, the government of Cameroon through the Ministry of Social Affairs has placed the albinos under the group of people with special protection needs. Together with partners, they have been fighting against their social exclusion by taken measures to ensure their social integration and re-integration. For instance, the local subsidiary of Attijariwafa bank-SCB Cameroon constructed and equipped a grinding mill in Bomono village on June 6, 2018 to enable albinos in the area generate revenues in that locality where cassava plantations guarantee that the mill will be prosperous.

There are equally sensitization campaigns organized by the ministry of social Affairs to educate albinos on certain life hacks they need to practice such as having an umbrella, always wearing protective wears such as long sleeves and ultraviolet sun glasses and using other visual aids, visit eye specialists for regularly checkup of their eye sight. They are also made to understand that albinism does not affect the brain and so they can achieve their goals in life if set their mind on it. Today, as part of activities to mark the celebration, a film produced by Cameroonian born Patricia Adazanga titled “My Skin” will be broadcast to sensitize Cameroonians to stop all forms of discrimination against albinos.

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