Malawi: Beyond my skin – supporting people living with Albinism

Malawi: Beyond my skin – supporting people living with Albinism

Featured on ICN website

Albinism is a congenital condition characterized by the partial or complete absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. Albinism is associated with a number of vision defects. Lack of skin pigmentation makes for more susceptibility to sunburn and skin cancers.

People living with Albinism have always had a very difficult life in Africa, given the climate conditions. New Ways, the charity which supports many projects run by the St Paul’s Missionary Community in Turkana, Kenya, Ethiopia and Malawi, want to bring relief to their lives by providing much needed help and provide opportunities for a better future.

Fr Steven Ochieng writes: “In our programme, we offer the beneficiaries sun protection creams, hats, sunglasses, and sun-protective clothing to protect them against the harsh impact of the sun. We also offer moral support, access to education, hygiene, and sanitation and tackle health problems by referring them to the nearest hospital. We also organise dermatological and ophthalmological clinic campaigns to check for skin and vision problems in people living with albinism twice a year. All of which is critical for their well being.

“Unfortunately people with Albinism often face stigma in addition to challenges to their health due to climate, particularly in Malawi. This stigma often makes it difficult for them to do things such as attend school and work which is why it’s vitally important to provide support from a young age to make it easier for them to thrive. The key is help them safely go about their day to day lives.”

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