To commemorate International Albinism Awareness Day, Sunday, June 13, the Ghana Association of Persons with Albinism (GAPA) has called on government to pursue policies that would make the lives of albinos easier in the country.
Celebrating this year’s awareness day with the theme: “Strength beyond all odds,” the Executive Director of GAPA, Newton Kwamla Katseku bemoaned the lack of appropriate medical treatment, favorable conditions in schools among others.
“There are no clear cut policies and programmes seeking to ensure that persons with albinism have access to adequate health care, employment, education, justice and social protection in Ghana.
“This year’s theme “Strength beyond all odds” is seeking to reflect on the resilience, perseverance and achievements of persons with albinism in the face of the pervasive misconceptions, discrimination and violence,” he stated.
According to him, due to visual impairment, many albinos have had to drop out of school which has also worsened the unemployment rate in the country.
Aside from that, he expressed great worry over the discrimination against persons with albinism. A number of albinos, he said are subjected to torture and in the worst scenario, killed due to the colour of their skin and the ill perception permeating through society.
“These attacks have affected many persons with albinism and claimed many lives among persons with albinism, more especially in the east Africa countries, and made surviving victims and their families experience severe trauma,” he added.
To address these life threatening issues, Mr Kwamla Katseku has urged the government to include sun care products, dermatological and optical services on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) drugs and services list for persons with albinism.
On educational matters, he suggested that government needs to mainstream albinism and disability issues in all levels of the educational system.
“Some textbooks should be printed in large font and persons with albinism allowed to sit closer to chalkboards in classrooms. Also, students with albinism should be allowed some extra time during examinations and also put measures in place to allocate enough resources to effectively implement the inclusive education policy,” he stated.
Mr Katseku in ensuring the dissemination of information and continuous provision of support services to all persons with albinism further called on government to support GAPA to obtain a reliable and accurate database of all albinos in the country.
In addition, he entreated the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection with NCPD “to fully domesticate and full implementation of the regional action plan on albinism in Africa which was adopted by the AU for the enjoyment of the rights of persons with albinism.”
“We finally call on the ministry of chieftaincy and culture to call for inter-ministerial dialogue with relevant institutions and the national house of chiefs to end cultural banishment of persons with albinism in most communities in Ghana,” he added.
He is optimistic these suggestions that have been put before government would taken up to make the lives of albinos condusive and comfortable.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Association of Persons with Albinism is wishing all albinos in the country and across the globe a happy International Awareness Day.
Despite the obstacles to the well-being and security of persons, GAPA has commended the efforts of albinos who continue to work hard to support the most vulnerable to achieve their dreams and ambitions.
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