Govt ignoring persons with albinism – APAM

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The Association of People with Albinism (APAM) has faulted government for failing to provide appropriate medical care for people with albinism (PWAs).

This follows the death of a person with albinism who was suffering from skin cancer.

Boniface Massa

The APAM says the situation is worrisome.

The deceased who has been identified as Chikumbutso Emmanuel was staying in Area 23 in Lilongwe.

According to APAM chairperson Overstone Kondowe, just like many other persons with albinism in Malawi, Emmanuel suffered from skin cancer which succeeded to claim his life.

“His death clearly demonstrates collective failure by government and other stakeholders in guaranteeing this endangered group right to health and life,” he expressed.

Kondowe added that despite increasing numbers of advanced skin cancer cases and related deaths in Malawi, albinism remains one of the most ignored public health issue.

He said there are challenges with availability of sunscreen lotion in district hospitals and health centres, limited number of dematologists, lack of awareness of the condition, and inavailability of radiotherapy (RT) which is an important modality for controlling the disease alone or in combination with surgery.

“Malawi is a country with no functional radiotherapy facility hence chemotherapy forms the mainstay of treatment in advanced non-resectable skin cancers targeting most PWAs, however, the proposed chemotherapy regimens have not been proved effective to PWAs,” he said.

As part of preventive and supportive care of persons with albinism, APAM runs albinism clinics at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and Kamuzu Central Hospital to manage different skin related conditions.

However, due to a number of challenges, only a few access the services at these clinics.

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