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Narok Albinos urged to come out

Narok County Albino representative Reuben Mbatian has appealed to persons living with albinism in the county to come out of hiding and receive sun screen lotions and other material assistances meant for persons living with a disability.
Speaking to the press in Narok town Friday, Mr. Mbatian who also doubles as the County Representative for persons living with disability said that the sunscreen lotion which the people living with albinism so badly need was readily available from their organisation and at the county referral hospital but few show up for fear of stigma.
“The sunscreen lotion stocks are almost expiring at Narok County Referral Hospital shelves, as there are no people to pick them,” he said.
The lotions are being offered free of charge to help people living with albinism to protect them from sunburn which can make them develop skin cancer due to their delicate skin.
According to Mbatian, the Maasai culture has forced people living with disability to go into hiding for they believe an albino is a cursed person therefore regard the condition a taboo.
“People living with albinism are either hidden or forced into hiding by the community and are said to be a bad omen, yet it’s a medical condition,” he said.
Mbatian further reiterated that the sunscreen lotion was important in helping albinos prevent skin cancer caused by direct sunlight.
“Because we lack melanin in our skin that prevents harmful rays emitted by the sun, we are at risk of getting cancer,” he added.
Mbatian has also appealed to the County Government to provide specialists at the referral hospital in order to educate people living with albinos on how they should take care of themselves so as to avoid cancer.
“The County Government needs to avail medical specialists and long sleeved T-shirts, sunglasses and hats for our people,” he said. These have been provided by the county government in the past and are not doing it now and yet are beyond the reach of most people living with albinism.
Special sunglasses are said to cost as much as Sh45, 000 a pair, a shirt and a hat go for Sh1000 each which many persons living with albinism cannot afford.
Mbatian said Narok is estimated to have over 150 people living with albinism but only 50 have come out.
According to Africa Albino Foundation, Kenya has up to 15,000 people living with albinism but only 3,000 have registered with this organization or have come out in the open due to social stigma associated with the condition.
By Mabel Keya Shikuku

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