By Idah Mhetu
DEPUTY Minister of Information Energy Mutodi on Saturday urged healthcare professionals and health institutions to stop discrimination against people living with Albinism.
Officiating at the Albinism Health Fair facilitated by the Global Aid Missions in Harare, Mutodi urged healthcare professionals to start treating albinism just like all other conditions such as diabetes, cancer and other conditions.
“Access to health care services is often accompanied by discrimination and stigmatisation hence leading to the hindrance of full service,” Mutodo said.
“…Health professionals should end discrimination against people living with albinism. They should treat the condition just like any other condition like diabetes, cancer and many other conditions.
The minister gave assurances of government’s commitment towards the provision of social services.
These include assisting people with albinism enjoy their rights and access to health care.
“I would like to assure the nation that the government is committed to providing services that can assist the disadvantaged and the under-privileged members of our community.
“Government has launched a transitional stabilisation programme which aims at stabilising the economy and create a budget surplus that can be used to deal with social vulnerability and avail efficient care services and facilities throughout the country.
“However, government is also committed to extending help to people living with albinism. So the Ministry of Health is going to be capacitated to develop state of the art hospitals for people living with albinism,” he said.
Global Aid Missions managing director and cleric Fungai Chasi said many Zimbabweans still held false beliefs, myths and superstitions about people with albinism leading to their marginalisation and discrimination by society.
“The biggest problem that we have is that people do not understand the condition…they always treat it with suspicion, attributing a lot of myth to it. Some say it’s a curse, but it’s not a curse,” said Chasi.
He further called for an end to discrimination against people with albinism.
“Albinism is a genetic condition which comes as a result of the lack of melanin in the body, but people do not understand it.
“This issue affects people throughout the world, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender.
“Yet, tragically, people with albinism continue to suffer widespread discrimination, stigma and social exclusion,” he said.
Chasi further said Global Aid Missions has a clinic that offers free medical treatments to people living with albinism and still has programmes to avail many clinics throughout the country.