|ABUJA – The President of Liberia, Mrs Johnson Sirleaf, on Monday called on African leaders to assist in addressing the health challenges being faced by persons with albinism.
Sirleaf, who was represented by Mrs Jilia Cassell, the Minister of Gender and Development, made the call during the West African Regional Conference held to commemorate the National Albinism Day in Abuja.
“This is passionate plea to governments all around the world coupled with the unlawful and brutal killing of albinos carried out in most East African countries.
“This prompted the adoption of the resolution which finally sets up the stage for the first ever World Albinism Day.
She said it had become increasingly evident that the West African region was grossly uneducated and highly ignorant on the subject of albinism and its accompanying challenges.
Sirleaf listed some of the challenges as health issues, discrimination and human right violations.
The president said that the aim of the conference was to mainstream albinism into human rights policies and programmes of West African states.
Sirleaf said that this was in line with the African Charter of the African Commission on Human and people’s rights.
According to her, the conference is also to ensure that policy makers, health care professionals, development institutions, media, other NGOs, persons with albinism and the general public reappraise commitment to improving society understanding of albinism.
She said that the review effort that had so far been made was addressing the socio-economic empowerment of the albinism group.
Sirleaf commended the founder of the albino foundation of Nigeria, saying he was instrumental in helping Liberia establish its own albino society.
Earlier, Mr Jake Epelle, the Founder of Albino Foundation in Nigeria, stressed the need to educate the general public about albinism as it would help the albinos have a sense of belonging.
According to him, albinism is a global issue as one out of 18,000 people in the world is an albino and one out of 10,000 Nigerians, is an albino.
Epelle said that it was the foundation’s joy to see that Liberia, Ghana and Nigeria celebrated the National Day of Albinism together and hoped it would be celebrated internationally. (NAN)