PWAs pleads for govt support post Covid-19

11Jun 2020
Polycarp Machira
The Guardian
PWAs pleads for govt support post Covid-19

​​​​​​​A CROSS section of people with albinisms (PWA) have appealed to the government to financially support them survive in the post Covid-19, saying they were economically affected during the pandemic.

Michael Salali.

Addressing a press conference here, Michael Salali, the founder of a local non-governmental organisation, Foundation for Disabilities Hope (TDH) said most of the PWAs had borrowed money through their groups but it has been difficult to repay the loans due to Covid-19 effects.

“The government has done it good to lend money to different groups of people including PWAs but now most of the businesses or economic activities we ventured in stalled,” he said, adding that the government should consider giving them a new repayment schedule.

He said it is only prudent enough for the government to extend repayment timetable to help those who are adversely affected by the pandemic pay back the money.

Speaking, ahead of the June13, 2020 International Albinism Awareness Day, Salali noted that there is increasing fear among them since most of violence and deaths against them occur during election periods.

“I call upon the government to increase security for people with albinism especially during the electioneering period which is known to be a dangerous period for us,” he said.

He also called on parents with children with albinism and the society at large to protect them against attacks and murder, saying, “People with albinism deserve to live without fear just like other members of the society”.

On the international albinism awareness day, he noted that it is an opportunity to raise awareness of the human rights of persons with albinism.

Globally, member states of the United Nations are encouraged to continue their efforts to protect and preserve the rights to life and to security of persons with albinism.

They are encouraged to safeguard their right, not to be subject to torture and ill-treatment, and to ensure access to adequate health care, employment, education and justice for persons with albinism.

On a different note, Salali appealed to the government to consider importing the sunscreen lotion suitable for albinism skin through the medical stores department (MSD) to make it more affordable and easily available to persons with albinism.

He argued that the lotion currently being imported by private sector players is quite expensive and many of those with albinism cannot afford, leading to increased deaths through skin cancer.

“It is our plea to the government to consider importing the lotion through MSD that can distribute it throughout the country at quite affordable prices and rescue PWAs dying of skin cancer,” he noted.

While pleading with the government to change the modality, he also said there is need to continue with public education and awareness on albinism, noting that stigmatisation is still rife.

According to Salali, by 2012 census, there were 16,337 people with  albinism in Tanzania whereby about 820 die annually due to skin cancer. However he said the statistics might be higher due to lack of database as others die unreported.

FDH director, Epiphania Kabunduguru appealed to the government and other stakeholders to join hands in the fight against skin cancer among persons with albinism.

“Together we can save our brothers and sisters from death caused by skin cancer,” she said.

She observed that the sunscreen lotion is expensive, costing between 35,000/- up to 200,000/- which many people cannot afford.

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