By Daniel Phiri
PLATINUM mining giant Zimplats says it is working on a program that will see it assisting not less than 500 people with albinism in Zimbabwe.
According to UNICEF and Ministry of Health and Child Care, in 2015, there were about 70 000 people living albinism in Zimbabwe.
People with albinism face a lot of challenges as most of their basic necessities such as sunscreen lotions; sunglasses, long-sleeved clothing and lip balms are being overpriced.
Imported sunscreen sells for anything around US$30 per tube while those currently produced locally but are not good quality range from US$7-US$9 per tube and at mostly, three tubes are needed per month.
Lip balm needed by albinos also costs something around US$4.
In its full year report for 2017, Zimplats said its program will seek among other things to address issues of stigma and discrimination of albinos.
“Going forward and in line with its value of caring about the disadvantaged members of society, and promoting inclusive participation in socio–economic activity, Zimplats is working on a program to assist people living with albinism.
“The national awareness program aims at addressing stigma and discrimination towards achieving acceptance and integration of people living with albinism. Beyond education, awareness and integration, the program is targeting an initial 500 beneficiaries who will be provided with access to various forms of sun protection and where possible, spectacles,” said the company.
In June last year, Women Of Dominion International told Voice of America (VOA) that they will seek necessary funding to help in the production of some of the products needed by albinos locally
According to Zimbabwe Albino Association (ZimAA), people with albinism are the most vulnerable group in Zimbabwe, as their condition makes them vulnerable to skin cancer and that the majority of people with Albinism are children who are failing to access sunscreen lotions, sun hats and other protective clothing that will enable to ease their suffering.
ZimAA said people with Albinism are still facing stigma and discrimination, which results in children dropping out of school.
Some of the pressing needs for albinos are: spectacles, sunscreen lotion, long sleeved clothes hats and shoes, funds for regular checks for skin cancer symptoms and for medical treatment.