People living with Albinism have called on the Bayelsa State Government to implement health policies and programmes to protect their rights and give them access to medical care.
A retired Director in the state Ministry of Information, Orientation and Strategy, Mr. Marshal Edolo, made the call on Sunday, June 13, during the commemoration of the International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD) 2021 in Yenagoa.
While delivering the theme lecture on “Strength Beyond All Odds”, he said those living with albinism should have a firm resolve to be successful while living with their peculiar condition.
He recounted his personal experiences and urged them not to be limited or intimidated by societal discrimination as being albinos does not make them less human in any way.
“Do you know how many challenges I faced in the civil service? It did not deter me. I became successful in the service and retired honourably.
“The government should take peculiar interest in our problems, putting it as a policy that glasses should be given to them. Their major problem is myopia, and if they give them the necessary glasses, they can and will do well”.
On her part, the State Coordinator of the Albino Foundation, Mrs. Joy Okpogene said there is hardly any albino in the employment of the state government or private institutions, which is very unfair.
She said the foundation has been able to fight for the rights of albinos such that they can jump queues instead of staying in the sun which can lead to a complication of their health problems.
She advised them to take advantage of medicated glasses for their myopia and use creams that prevent sun burn.
Also speaking, the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon. Oyinke Godbless, promised that the lawmakers will ensure that new legislations and existing laws are implemented to push funding for albinos in the state.
He said laws are already in place to protect their fundamental human rights, assuring of the state government’s readiness to do more.
The event also featured a lecture on reporting domestic violence and social discrimination against albinos.