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International Albinism Awareness Day

13 June, 2021

Albinism is a rare, genetic difference which results in a lack of melanin in the hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light. The incidence varies from 1 in 1,000 on the African continent to 1 in 20,000 in Europe and North America. Persons with albinism are highly vulnerable to skin cancer — with some dying in their 30s because of inadequate access to life-saving measures such as health checks, sunscreen, sunglasses and sun-protective clothing. With many having permanent visual impairment, persons with albinism also face discrimination due to their skin colour, as well as their disability. Because of erroneous beliefs, myths and superstition in some countries, they are also at risk of attacks, persecution, injury and death. There have been hundreds of reports of attacks and killings of persons with albinism in 28 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in the past decade. In other regions, discrimination may consist of name-calling, persistent teasing and bullying, as well as abandonment and rejection by families. International Albinism Awareness Day is thus to celebrate the achievements and successes of persons with albinism worldwide, and to enable them to be free of stigma, discrimination, fear and violence.

 

Image: International Albinism Awareness Day