October 17, 2019

Persons with albinism suffer most discrimination in public spaces ― Survey

According to Osinbajo, “there is a need to see it for what it is, a genetic difference not a contagious disease

A demographic and socioeconomic study of Persons with Albinism (PWAs) conducted in Oyo and Plateau States has revealed that PWAs suffer most discrimination in public places.

Persons with albinism suffer most discrimination in public spaces ― Survey

Cross-section of albinos during the International Albinism Awareness Day

The baseline survey conducted by the Albino Foundation in partnership with the Australian High Commission to Nigeria was a maiden version of the baseline survey conducted in six states including FCT in 2018.

The survey stated that persons with disabilities, PWAs and other vulnerable persons had been disadvantaged and victimised with non-access to proper care for their health, state of mind and well-being.

It states that about 60 per cent of respondents affirmed having been discriminated against because they are simply PWAs, the trend being higher in Plateau with 34 per cent while Oyo 26 per cent.

The survey also indicated that about 40 per cent of the total respondents said they had never been discriminated against in public places.

It listed some of the places to include schools, hospitals, villages, towns, banks, offices, public vehicles and religious places as well as when in relationship with the opposite sex.

The survey highlighted some key demoralising effect of discrimination experienced by PWAs, saying it kills their self-confidence, makes them feel less human than they really are and causes them to make mistakes.

It states that lack of understanding from the public was a major reason for discrimination, while respondents placed enlightenment of teachers and students as a paramount requirement in understanding PWAs needs.

Other suggestions listed to alleviate struggles faced by PWAs are provision of teaching aids for PWA, the enlightenment of people who discriminate as well as families and friends on how to care for them.

The President, Albino Foundation, Mr Jake Epelle, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) expressed concern that PWAs were still largely stigmatised because of their skin colour.

Epelle said stigma tend to limit them from actively engaging in social activities out of fear of being called names or harmed, adding that fear of adverse religious believes also affects them emotionally.

He said factors that promote Albinism stigma include low empowerment, religion and social believes, saying Albinos are normal human beings who require special care due to peculiarity of their skin type and eye condition.

Epelle further explained that the survey was the second wave in a series of national baseline surveys with the intention of gathering far reaching demographic and socioeconomic information.

He said it was designed to help facilitate policy formulation and implementation of programmes designed to alleviate Albinism in Nigeria, young and old, male and female.

Epelle said the survey was also to help disseminate information for them to know their rights and an avenue to provide access to healthcare, education and other social welfare.

Vanguard News Nigeria.