Albinos’ welfare to be addressed

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Government has pledged its continued provision of policy guidelines that will address the welfare of the vulnerable groups of people such as albinos in the country.

Minister of Health Joseph Kasonde said it was sad that people living with albinisms have continued to be neglected, discriminated and marginalised by a cross section of society.

Dr. Kasonde however said the Patriotic Front (PF) government was committed to improving the welfare of people living with albinism and warned members of the public against discriminating such people.

“I would like to call on members of the public to fight stigmatisation and discrimination of people living with albinism especially that Zambia is a signatory to the United Nations convention on the rights of every citizen,” he said.

ZANIS reports that the minister was speaking in Lusaka today in a speech read on his behalf by acting Director of Disease Surveillance Control and Research in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Itone Muteba, at the awareness and advocate meeting for people living albinisms which was organized by the National Albinism Initiative Networking of Zambia (NAINZ).

And Dr. Kasonde disclosed that government has formulated a policy aimed at addressing the many social and economic conditions which have continued to negatively affect people living albinism.

He said these social and economic conditions include blindness and low vision among others.

He added that government will continued to foster many initiatives meant to mobilise resources to help people living with albinism.

Dr. Kasonde pointed out that albinism has far reaching health repercussions if not seriously contained.

He has since praised NAINZ for embarking on a serious campaign of educating families with members who are albinos on how to take care for them.

Meanwhile, NAINZ Executive Director Dickson Konkola called on government to formulate laws that will seriously speak for the interests of albinos and against the would be discriminators.

Mr. Konkola said albinos have continued to be left out in many governance issues hence passing a law will assist in ensuring that they also become part of many national developmental programmes.

He explained that people living with albinism were not a homogenous group because they also have the intellectual and mental abilities just like the rest of the human race.

He said there was no need to treat albinos as second rate citizens.

Albinism is caused by a deficiency in the production of pigment melanin, which usually gives the hair, skin and eyes their colour.