Parents Ask Government To Set Up Special Clinic For Albinos

Photographer Walker Geof with an Albino child from Koro in Omoro district

Parents of children suffering from albinism have called on the government to set up a special clinic at public health facilities to offer services to children suffering from the condition.

Albinism is a group of inherited disorders that results in little or no production of the pigment melanin, which determines the color of the skin, hair and eyes.

Melanin also plays a role in the development of certain optical nerves, so all forms of albinism cause problems with the development and function of the eyes.

The parents say that despite the increasing number of people with the genetic disorder, government has not bothered to put a health facility that offer treatment for people with the condition.

Betty Akello, a mother with three children suffering from Albinism says over the years, she has been forced to rely on non-governmental organizations and well-wishers to get treatment for her children.

Akello, a local farmer from Telela in Ngai Sub County, Oyam district says sunscreen, sunglasses and hats cannot be found in government health facilities.

People with albinism can enjoy outdoor activities by limiting their exposure to sunlight through wearing appropriate hats and clothing and using sunscreen. This is because they are extremely sensitive to damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun since they lack pigment that normally protects the skin.

Patrick Ogwang, another parent with two children suffering from Albinism and a resident of Pukwoyo village, Lakwana Sub County in Omoro district says on several occasions he has failed to buy sunscreen from the local cosmetic shops in Gulu town.

Jonathan Lukwiya, a 24-year-old sufferer says there is need for government to come to the rescue of Albinos especially the poor. Lukwiya explained that setting up health facility at major hospitals across the country that specifically offers treatment to Albinos will ease access to treatment.

Dr Harry Mpewo, a Skin Specialist explained that on top of pale skin colour due to lack of melanin, albinos suffer from poor sight.

In January, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga announced plans by the Parliamentary Commission to lead a drive for the construction of a one stop community centre for people with albinism.