Kadaga asks for special census on albino community

Tuesday January 21 2020

Walk. People with Albinism participate in a charity

Walk. People with Albinism participate in a charity walk during the opening of the Parliament week in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO BY DAVID LUBOWA  

By Moses Kyeyune

PARLIAMENT-Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has asked the government to make a deliberate effort and compile national data that is specific to Persons with Albinism.

This, according to the Speaker, will help in addressing the special needs of the albino community in services such as healthcare and education.

The Speaker said this can easily be kick-started at village level, where local councils should develop data and highlight the number of persons in this category.

“The Local Council leaders should make it their responsibility to know the number of persons with albinism in their areas so that we can plan for schools,” Ms Kadaga said.

She was yesterday officiating at the Parliamentary fundraising walk for the Albino Community. Funds generated in the annual walk are aimed at establishing a one-stop rehabilitation and community centre for persons with albinism.

The walk, which is the third of its kind, raised Shs54m towards the proposed rehabilitation centre, projected to cost at least Shs5b.
According to the Clerk to Parliament, Ms Jane Kibirige, the funds raised from the previous three years will enable purchasing of land.
“The money to deposit on the land is available and Parliament is in the process of identifying land without encumbrances,” Ms Kibirige said.
Ms Olive Namutebi, the chairperson of Albinism Umbrella in Uganda, said about 50 per cent of children living with albinism do not go to school.


She said this is due to high poverty levels which have made it hard for parents to afford sunscreens and other skin protection creams.
Parliament in 2017 waived taxes on such creams, that cost between Shs 70,000 and Shs 120,000.
Besides, there is stigma and discrimination among other challenges.

According to Ms Namutebi, a recent research carried out by the Albinism Umbrella with support from Oxfam in nine districts of Eastern Uganda shows that there are 263 per sons with albinism. She, however, said that many others preferred not to be counted this rendering the findings inaccurate.

Many people still lacked knowledge on causes of albinism, Ms Namutebi said.
“What does this mean; they are prone to believe anything because they go by the myths surrounding it; and because you do not know that it is a genetic condition inherited from both parents, this is the reason we are discriminated,” Ms Namutebi added.

Albinism is a genetic condition where some people are born without the usual pigment or colour in their bodies.

The walk
The charity walk is marked the start of the week-long Parliament week, aimed at bridging the gap between Parliament and the public.
During the week which runs from January 20 to 26, Parliament will engage with the public through various activities including; Ecumenical service, Public Parliament, Stakeholders dialogue as well as tours of Parliament. Members of the public will also be able to meet their MPs.