Albinos living in Jinja District have asked the government to provide them free sunscreen creams to protect them from bright sunrays.
“We need this cream to be distributed to us free of charge like the government is doing with HIV/AIDS patients who are provided with ARVs,” said Mr Peter Ojik, the chairperson of the albinos’ umbrella organisation, Source of the Nile Persons with Albinism.
Mr Ojik was on Tuesday speaking in Jinja where more than 400 albinos living in Busoga region converged at the start of a three-day workshop, funded by Abilis Foundation, a Finland-based NGO, in conjunction with Action on Disability and Development – Uganda.
The group’s coordinator, Ms Fazira Kawuma, said that the advocacy workshops are aimed at helping community development officers learn how to advocate for the rights of minority groups and fight wrong public perceptions that albinos’ body parts are potent recipes in traditional medicine.
Mr Ojik said the government should also lower taxes on sunscreen creams which he said are too expensive for most of them.
Since individuals with albinism have skin that entirely lacks the dark pigment melanin, which helps protect the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, their skin can burn more easily from overexposure.
Source of the Nile Persons with Albinism chairperson Peter Ojik says a 230g tin of sunscreen cream that would ordinarily cost Shs40,000 costs Shs80,000, an amount he says most Albinos cannot afford.