18 November 2012

Tanzania: Kagera Albino Society to Conduct Census

Photo: IRIN
An Albino boy carries a baby.

Bukoba — THE Tanzania Albino Society (TAS) in Kagera Region is seeking funds to conduct a census of albinos in the region.

TAS Regional Chairman, Buchard Mpaka, told the 'Sunday News' in an exclusive interview, that basing on data obtained from the Regional Crimes Office (RCO), by 2008 there were a total of 267 albinos in the region.

The number of albinos in each district with numbers in brackets include Karagwe (50), Bukoba Rural (14), Biharamulo (33), Chato (46), Misenyi (19), Bukoba Municipality (5), Muleba (55) and Ngara (45). According to Mr Mpaka, a total of seven albinos were killed between 2008 -2010, raising fears about their lives.

He noted that following the killings based on witchcraft beliefs, most of the albinos now lived under very tense condition and some of them had abandoned their farms fearing to be attacked and killed. He appealed to the government to provide them with health insurance as most of them hailed from poor families. He also advised the government to allocate special doctors with knowledge in albinos.

Albinism is lack of body pigments in the skin, colour and eyes. Mr Mpaka also lamented that most of the albinos did not attend basic education and had no projects to generate a sustainable income. He cited other challenges facing them to include lack of body jerries, long-sleeved shirts and hats to protect their skins from sunlight.

The government has pledged continued support to People Living with Disabilities (PLWD) including the blind and mentally retarded people to enable them to cope with challenges facing them. Kagera Regional Community Development Officer, Ms Rebecca Gwambasa, made the pledge in Bukoba Municipality on Friday.

She said various strategies were underway to enable people with disabilities to participate in nation building activities. The Regional chairperson of Mentally Retarded People (TAHM), Anaclet Rugaihuruza, urged members of the society to avoid stigma against mentally retarded people and instead to assist them.

He said mentally retarded people had equal chances of doing well in life if given opportunity. He said they were also entitled to have families and be loved. He advised the government to appoint experts with special knowledge in matters related to mentally retarded people at hospitals.

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