The albinism community in Ghana has expressed disappointment in the Government of Ghana for what it calls a lack of commitment to the well-being of persons with the albinism condition.
According to persons living with albinism (PWAs) and albinism rights advocates, the 20 years of public education and engagements with state agencies have not caused any significant change in the attitude of successive governments and the general public towards PWAs.
At a forum held in Accra to mark this year’s International Albinism Awareness Day on June 13, 2023, the Albinism Programme Coordinator at Engage Now Africa, Mr. Andrews Kwame Daklo, laments that skin cancer continues to be a major problem for persons with albinism in the country, without any attempt by the government to intervene.
According to him, Sun cream that protects PWAs from the effects of sunlight is still considered a cosmetic product under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and, therefore, is not covered by the scheme.
He says, their people are not able to afford the high cost of sun creams and that has resulted in many of them developing skin cancer, leading to the death of some of them.
He reiterates the need for skin care lotions for PWAs to be absorbed by the NHIS.
Mr. Daklo also appeals to the Ghana Education Service and the West Africa Examination Council to consider, as a matter of urgency, making font sizes of textbooks and examination papers big enough to aid PWAs with low eyesight. And also give them extra time during examinations.
He says such considerations will create a level playing field for students with albinism to learn or compete with other students.
Talking about how to eradicate or reduce stigma, discrimination, stereotypes and other negative attitudes towards PWAs, Mr. Kwame Daklo calls on the National Commission on Civil Education (NCCE) to include education about albinism in their activities. He believes that will go a long way to change public perceptions about the condition.
The forum which was also used to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Ghana Association of Persons with Albinism, brought together stakeholders such as the NCCE, the Social Welfare Department, and the National Council on Persons with Disabilities.
The others are the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, Ghana Health Service, the Technical and Vocational Training Unit of Ghana Education Service and the Ga traditional council.
It was discussed how the various stakeholders could contribute to the improvement of the well-being of persons with albinism in the country.
The event was sponsored by Engage Now Africa, an albinism rights advocacy organisation.
International Albinism Awareness Day is celebrated on 13th June every year to raise awareness about albinism rights and celebrate the power of diversity and reaffirm solidarity with persons who may suffer marginalization for living with albinism.
The theme for this year’s celebration was ‘Inclusion is Strength: developing and adopting national Albinism Action Plan for Ghana’.