The government has taken a number of positive measures to ensure the security of people and children living with albinism.
These include acting to ensure that their security was assured against criminals stalking them for their body parts, which are associated with witchcraft beliefs.
For people with albinism had become the target of people immersed in witchcraft beliefs, who pursued them on the orders of witchdoctors peddling the belief that potions made from an albino's legs, hair, hands, and blood can make a person rich.
Though the threat to their lives and well-being has not been fully stamped out, some success is gradually being recorded, as more awareness campaigns are mounted and security improved, enabling more people with albinism to go about their activities without that much fear.
Even the children deemed under threat from the stalkers, have been moved to special schools, where they can learn under a more secure environment.
All these are commendable actions, aimed at ensuring that every effort is made so that people with disability in our midst have no cause to worry about their lives and well being and enjoy their basic human rights.
But most of the above actions have dealt with the external security for the group. Yet people and children living with albinism have critical health needs, which are an equally serious threat to their lives as are their fellow human predators.
People with albinism are characterised by the complete or partial absence of pigment in their skin, hair and eyes due to absence or defect of an enzyme involved in the production of melanin. Albinism results from inheritance of recessive gene alleles and is known to affect all vertebrates, including humans.
The condition is associated with a number of vision defects, such as photophobia, nystagmus and astigmatism. Lack of skin pigmentation makes for more susceptibility to sunburn and skin cancers which need to be treated.
It is encouraging that the government has realised the importance of addressing this condition and made a bold decision to tackle them.
In a bid to ensure access to reliable health care, the minister for Health and Social Welfare Dr Hussein Mwinyi has ordered government-run centres for children with albinism (CWA) across Tanzania to have fully fledged clinics.
Dr Mwinyi a delegation of Under The Same Sun (UTSS) led by its Executive Director for Tanzania, Vicky Ntetema that he would from now on make it part of his responsibility to coordinate matters concerning persons with albinism (PWA).
“I will order all regional medical officers to see to it that the facilities are established and become operational without major problems in terms of basic equipment, supplies and medical staff,” he promised. The minister also promised to follow up the whereabouts of 21 dermatologists who he said would have been crucial in helping people with albinism.
It is our expectation that we shall see the upscaling of care for this vulnerable group in ourm midst after the minister said he would also seek to ensure the various stakeholders coordinate their assistance to people with albinism.
Indeed such coordination is a crucial positive step not only for the group, but for all the others receiving resources from the government and various non-governmental organisations.