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Monday, February 6, 2023

Albinos Take Center Stage

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Albinos Take Center Stage

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Key findings of the report range from health care, protection, job opportunities and education amongst others.

Making his presentation on the report, the Director of LEWAF, Mohamed Bailor Jalloh said: “the culture of marginalization, discrimination and stigmatization of albinos in Sierra Leone and the world at large added to the lack of effective policies to address their socio-economic challenges by state and non-state actors, requires urgent attention of policy makers and community leaders.”

He further explained that in the report, 62.83% of person with albinism said they had visited health care centres in the last two months, whilst 48.28% of health workers noted that PWAs were not included in regular care seeking procedures at their facilities. In job opportunities, he said: “whilst 80.18% said they had been called derogatory names because of their albinism; 78.87% noted that PWAs face stigma and discrimination in their communities.

 Mr. Jalloh however said that according to the United Nations 2013 Report on Persons with Albinism, “States should adopt specific measures to protect and present the rights to life and security of persons with albinism, as well as their rights not to be subject to torture and ill-treatment, and ensure access to adequate health care, employment, education and justice.” 

He recommended that social services, line ministries like social welfare, health and education must provide opportunities for PWAs. He went on to say that the government should support the establishment of a fundamental network at national level for all persons with albinism.

Mohamed Kelfala Sesay a journalist working for Mercury Radio and a student at Mass Communication Department FBC, said he is the third albino child born of his parents. He explained that as a child growing up, he has been abused and stigmatized by colleagues in school and in communities.

“I was challenged by people who looked down on me because they gave me a reason to believe in myself to become a better person,” Mr. Sesay said. He called on his colleagues to be steadfast in their undertakings and never to listen to naysayers.

Another testimony was shared by Jamilatu Salamie who said that in Kenema, because of her color, people see her as a witch and a person that is not needed in society. She further explained that for her to even rent a house, people rejected her even though she had the money to pay.

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