Mr. Jake Epelle, Founder, The Albino Foundation, stated this at the two-day event to commemorate the International Albinism Awareness Day Celebration in Abuja.
Epelle said the International Albinism Awareness Day Celebration in Nigeria was commemorated annually on June 13, to improve the awareness and response to challenges of persons with albinism and their families.
He said Albinism could be classified in the higher level of Nigeria’s vulnerable groups as the full potential of most persons with Albinism was yet to be harnessed due to myths and misconceptions associated with the condition.
This, he said, over the years had been interpreted as truth in which parents in certain areas still restrain from sending their children with albinism to school because it was considered a waste of time.
Epelle explained that lack of awareness and ignorance has resulted in the tragic loss of life of persons with albinism as many succumbed to the death of the condition which ordinarily would have been avoided.
“Albinism related issues in Nigeria have been highly underrated mainly due to the prevailing ignorance of the condition.
“Most people remain unaware to the challenges that persons with albinism are faced with, and Albinism is among the higher level of Nigerian’s vulnerable groups.
“Persons with Albinism lack melanin which affects their eyes, hair and skin colour, they are also the most highly prone to skin cancer as it takes only 10 minutes for them to sustain sunburns,’’ Epelle said.
He said that the conference would enlighten persons with albinism and their family, empower them and provide entrepreneurial and leadership skills as a tool for reducing poverty and promoting an inclusive society.
Epelle further called for a legislation and policy advocacy aimed at ensuring total mainstreaming of albinism into government programmes and policies and to ensure that there are necessary laws to protect their rights.
He expressed the need for Nigerians to be properly educated about the true state of Albinism that would help promote understanding, acceptance and socio-economic inclusion of persons with albinism into mainstream society.