Brief- Albinism Sunscreen and Support Program
The Council has been implementing the National Persons with Albinism Sunscreen Support Programme that is providing sunscreen lotions to over 3,026 persons with albinism. The programme is designed to carry out awareness and offer lip care and after sun lotion and other services for all persons with albinism in the country.
The major killer among persons with albinism in Kenya is skin cancer. This program which aims at mitigating the harmful sun rays (UVB and UVA) by providing free sunscreen lotion to all persons with albinism in the country was placed at the council in the year 2011 after the Government gave 100million for purchase of sunscreen lotions.
- Provision of sunscreen lotions.
- Provision of after sun lotions.
- Provision of protective clothing (Caps and Long sleeved T-Shirts.
- Cancer intervention.
- Provision of comprehensive Eye Care.
- Provision of lip care.
- Awareness activities which includes Dissemination Workshops, interactive sessions and media activities.
Provision of Lip Care, After Sun and Sunscreen Lotions
The programme is designed to cushion persons with albinism from the effects of harmful sunrays which causes skin cancer. This programme is currently providing sunscreen lotions to over 3,026 persons with albinism.
In order to achieve this, we have distributed sunscreen lotions to selected government hospitals across the country. These hospitals have been dispensing these lotions since The council engaged in consultations with stakeholders in order to procure the best lotions for PWA, currently, we are providing Nivea lotions where we are providing one bottle of sunscreen lotion every month to all PWA who are registered with us.
We have opened offices in each County where our officers have taken the initiative of registration for the new clients and help them in identifying hospitals that will be used as distribution centers. A total of 180 hospitals and Health Centres have been identified as distribution centers.
We endeavor to distribute the lotions in lower level hospitals hence making the product accessible to rural clients. Initially it was only up to level four hospitals that were being used.
The council takes into cognizance that there are occasions that PWA are exposed too much in the sun hence they require to cool the burning effect of the sun by applying after sun lotion. Thus the council has procured 18,000 bottles of after sun lotions. Each registered client is entitled to one bottle of after sun lotion to be used on two months.
Alongside the sunscreen lotions, the council has procured Lip Balm for the PWAs. All the clients are entitled to a piece per month.
The Council wanted to monitor the uptake of these products namely Lip Care, After Sun and Sunscreen lotions on sampled clients with albinism.
Provision of Protective Clothing (Caps and Long sleeved T-Shirts)
One of the recommendations of the experts on matters of prevention of skin cancer, apart from application of sunscreen lotion, is the provision of protective clothing and avoidance of prolonged exposure to the sun. Therefore, the council has procured long sleeved T-Shirts and Wide Brim Hats.
Provision of comprehensive Eye Care
The Council has set aside funds to provide comprehensive eye care for all PWAs in our record. A service provider was to be identified in order to support the Council in providing comprehensive eye care for Persons with Albinism in the entire country.
The selected firm/Hospital was to work closely and in collaboration with the National Council for Persons with Disabilities Program officer in charge of Rehabilitation and Habilitation.
A hospital Situated in Nairobi Westlands along Waiyaki Way at Pacis Centre called EYE & U was identified after advertisement and evaluation. The Council is paying for full check-up including cost for the eye glasses.
Over the last two years, the council has been supporting clients who succumb to skin cancer by paying for the medical bills. Before clients go to the pharmacist to collect lotions they are usually examined by the clinician first in order to help identify any signs of skin cancer.
Albinism Awareness Activities
Awareness program is being conducted by organisations for persons with albinism on behalf of the council. This awareness has targeted the community members and key stakeholders of this program. It was planned to give the public more information on albinism with a view of demystifying albinism.
Under this, we encourage PWA themselves to come together in forums which we call “interactive sessions” where we have PWA sharing their personal experience on how they handle various aspects of their condition. Parents interact with each other with a view of sharing important tips on how to bring up their children
- International Albinism Awareness Day
The UN Human Rights Council, resolutions 23/13 of 13 June 2013, on attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism, and 24/33 of 27 September 2013, on technical cooperation for the prevention of attacks against persons with albinism, culminated into November 18, 2014, the United Nations’ General Assembly adopting a resolution establishing June 13th as International Albinism Awareness Day. This historic resolution firmly fixes albinism advocacy at a global level.
The day celebrates the achievements of people with albinism and also creates awareness about albinism. The International Awareness Day is also a unique opportunity to promote laws and policies to better protect persons with albinism from all forms of violence and to overcome social misconceptions that lead to stigmatization and discrimination.
Five (5) Persons with albinism came from all counties in the country to celebrate this day on 13th June 2015 and show the world that people with albinism are just as capable as anyone else.
This calls for an elaborate media campaign to enable us achieve our goals and objectives of the program
We have currently set aside 30million to undertake this awareness.
The requirements for the Albinism Sunscreen and Support programme includes;
- Registration with NCPWD
- Proof of the requirements in the ranking criteria
- Full photograph
- Copy of National ID or that of the guardian if the person is under 18 years.
It is important to note the following about Albinism
What is albinism?
Albinism is a genetic condition where people are born without melanin(a chemical responsible for colour of the skin, eyes and hair.
Eye sight - Just as there are different degrees of albinism-there are varied levels of eye problems for PWA.
Skin – melanin does not just give colour but protects the skin from harmful sunrays
Dark people have more melanin-light skinned people are more likely to have sunburns-PWA therefore are exposed to high risk of skin cancer.
Albinism is not contagious
For a child to be born by parents of dark skin, both of them MUST be carriers of the gene i.e. it is recessive.The Sun's Rays
Although the colour of tanned skin is associated with good health, the sun can cause skin disorders. The sun's rays that a body receives are made up of different types of rays that have different influences on our skin:
INFRARED RAYS. These rays give a sensation of heat, but they don't burn and create a reddening of the skin caused by the blood vessels dilating. This reddening disappears after a few hours.
UVB RAYS. These rays penetrate the epidermis, where they stimulate the melanocytes, Melanocytes are cells that produce melanin, a dark pigment responsible for the coloration of hair and skin. Melanin serves a number of functions in the body and these cells are found in all people.
Coloration of hair and skin is determined not by how many melanocytes someone has, but how active these cells are. With conditions like albinism, for example, these cells are present, but their activity is inhibited and they do not produce pigment which causes tanning, which is nothing more than the skin's natural way of protecting itself.
Overexposure to UVB rays causes burns, which appear as reddening of the skin for a few days. Overexposure to these rays is a risk factor in the development of skin cancer.
UVA RAYS. UVA rays cause immediate tanning, leading to weak pigmentation after a few hours. Overexposure to these rays leads to premature ageing of the skin and an increased risk of contracting skin cancer.