Ogheneuwvede Ohwovoriole in Abuja
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has urged the Federal Government to sustain the policy which grants access to free healthcare for people living with albinism who suffer from skin cancer. The policy was started in 2013 during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Obasanjo who said he was alarmed by the rate at which albinos become affected with cancer, explained that it was the lack of knowledge and information about albinism that make albinos particularly vulnerable to the disease.
“I believe that with more information and knowledge about the proper care of albinos, especially children, there will be fewer cases of people living with albinism being vulnerable to skin cancer,’’ he said.
He made these comments when a delegation from The Albino Foundation (TAF) paid a courtesy call on him at his Ota, Ogun State residence recently. He also accepted the offer of TAF to serve as co-life patron of the foundation, alongside former President Shehu Shagari.
Speaking earlier, the founder of TAF, Mr. Jake Epelle, briefed the former president on the various initiatives and programmes of the foundation and its effort to ensure mainstreaming of albinos in government policies and programmes.
Epelle said that in spite of the effort of TAF, people living with albinism still suffer serious discriminations and stigmatisation in the society. “Although we have seen marginal improvement in the treatment of albinos over time, we still face prejudices borne out of unfounded myths and fears of albinism.
‘’Many albinos are denied right to education, while others suffer work-place discriminations. We at TAF are calling on government at all levels to make laws and policies that will mainstream albinism in all areas of the society,’’ Epelle said.
Obasanjo furthermore pledged to support the effort of TAF for mainstreaming of albinism and to chair the International conference on albinism which is slated for Ogun State in June 2017.