Albinos to get free sunscreen lotions, says Kadaga

The First Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, with Mr Peter Ogik, the Executive Director Source of the Nile Union of Persons with Albinism (SNUPA), and Ms Fazira Kawuma, the Jinja City Deputy Mayor, and other people after the International Albinism Awareness Day celebrations in Jinja City on June 13. PHOTO/ABUBAKER KIRUNDA

What you need to know:

  • She said the sunscreen lotion will be treated like other essential medical drugs that the government sends to health centres
  • Sunscreen lotions is a key emulsion that acts like melanin for their protection from harmful rays of the sun

The First Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, has revealed that Persons with Albinism (PWAs) will soon start getting free sunscreen lotions, a key emulsion that acts like melanin for their protection from harmful rays of the sun.

Ms Kadaga who was officiating at the International Albinism Awareness Day celebrations organised by the Source of the Nile Union of Persons with Albinism (SNUPA), said the sunscreen lotion will be treated like other essential medical drugs that the government sends to health centres.

“It took me two financial years in Parliament to convince the government to scrap taxes on these lotions, arguing that they were not for bleaching, but for medical purposes,” Ms Kadaga said on June 13.

She added: “And since I won that battle (for taxes), let me now go to Cabinet to provide information that these items should be stocked at health centres for free access by every PWA.”
She further hailed the directors of SNUPA, an NGO, for “persisting” with its work for ten years despite the “pressure” that was being exerted on it by other organisations doing the same work.

Her remarks were in response to SNUPA Executive Director, Mr Peter Ogik, who revealed that government support towards scrapping taxes on these lotions has saved over 1,500 PWAs from contracting skin cancer.

The First Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, speaks during the International Albinism Awareness Day celebrations in Jinja City on June 13. Looking on (Right) is Mr Peter Ogik, the Executive Director Source of the Nile Union of Persons with Albinism (SNUPA). PHOTO/ABUBAKER KIRUNDA

Mr Ogik told the celebrants that the fatality rates from skin cancer among PWAs had significantly reduced to 60 percent, up from 90 percent prior to the years the taxes on sunscreen lotions were scrapped.

Mr Ogik had also requested the government to set up a factory which manufactures these lotions to avoid shortages in case SNUPA runs out of funds to continue providing them to its members.
According to Mr Ogik, for the past ten years, SNUPA has been able to treat at least 200 PWAs from skin cancer-related afflictions that were leaving at least three dead annually.

The Executive Director National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), Ms Esther Kyozira, asked the Ministry of Gender to expedite the national action plan made for PWAs, which required the extension of dermatologists and sunscreen lotions to all health centres as a priority.

She observed that sin cancer, that mostly affects PWAs, is reportedly not being given much attention and asked the government to use the data captured on PWAs during the 2024 National Population and Housing Census to plan for them well since proper records on their numbers will be available.