By Kasim Sumaina
The Albino Foundation (TAF), on Monday urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency reinstate the treatment process it started in 2007 with the Foundation to help prevent skin cancers amongst persons with albinism in the country.
This it noted, became necessary with a record of an average death of 2/3 persons with albinism every month in the country
Disclosing this to newsmen in Abuja, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, TAF, Mr. Jake Epelle, said, “We started a project in 2007 with the Federal Government which is the Skin Cancer prevention and treatment project.”
According to him, “The Obasanjo’s adminstration abducted that project. So far, we have treated about 2, 520 patients. We have referred to the National Hospital. That project has been ongoing until the current administration. I got a firm promise from the current administration that they will continue.
“However, the management of the National Hospital discontinued that project abruptly. Since then, we have been trying to talk with them without interface with the presidency. I have a letter from the office of the Vice President saying to us that they will get back to us and continue this programme.
“Unfortunately, I have not been able to make contact again with them not because we haven’t tried, we have. All of us know how busy they are. We were with the Minister of Health last week to brief him about the project and see out ways to continue with the project.”
Epelle hinted that the call became urgent on the need of preventing measures, adding that the sunscreen which is a preventing element to skin cancer should be made available to persons with albinism in the country.
He said: “We are appealing to the Federal Government to reinstate the treatment process. We have an urgent need in our hands. We have the sunscreen that is a preventive element to skin cancer manufactured by a Germany company through their agent here. We have a meeting with the previous administration at looking at ways to purchase these sunscreens by the Federal government and distribute them to the albinos. The organisation we met with in Germany and signed an MoU with was to produce the sunscreen. The sunscreen with our logo on it is not for sale. We have over 200, 000 pieces and will expire by the end of the year which makes the product useless.
“We are appealing to the federal government to immediately purchase the product from the manufacturer through its agents and give to the foundation to distribute to the people who need it urgently. Having said that, I want to re emphasise the need for the federal government to continue the treatment of persons with albinism not only at the National Hospital but at various teaching hospitals that have the facilities to treat skin cancers. It is urgent because, an average of 2/3 persons with albinism dies every month.
“And, it is alarming and practically becoming a subtle genocide and it is important that the federal government comes to our aid. We are also opening up the opportunity to the private sector to come to our aids on the purchase of the sunscreen.
“We are not waiting for the federal government or corporate agencies to buy everything. I like the statement the President made on assuming duty. He said, ‘I am the president of the poor’. We are asking the rich to indeed allow the president to indeed allow the President to reach out to the poor. I heard from the media that, the National Hospital denies having an MoU with us. We do have an MoU signed by National Hospital and not with the Minister. We sent that MoU to him. We do have in this office a compendium of bills that the National Hospital sent to us through the Federal Ministry of Finance and copied us.”