People Living With Albinism Complain of Neglect As Lockdown Is Intensified

People Living With Albinism have complained over how the government was neglecting them during the country’s prolonged Covid-19 induced lockdown.

Zimbabwe Albino Association (ZIMAS) director, Mercy Maunganidze-Chimhanga told this week that the ongoing restrictive measures were proving too tough for most people living with albinism as they are locked from the country’s mainstream economy and facing serious difficulties in making ends meet.

She said the lockdown period has proven to be one of the most challenging times for people with albinism.

“In this time of lockdown or in this time of coronavirus, persons with albinism are suffering a lot. Most persons are not formally employed, most of them are in the informal economy, which has been closed for over two months,” she said.

“Since the commencement of the lockdown, most of our membership has not been economically active since it is mostly in the informal economy of which most of them are breadwinners.”

As a result, most of them were failing to purchase sunscreen lotions, which is vital in their daily lives.

“We source sunscreen lotions for distribution amongst our membership. However, since the commencement of the lockdown, we are failing to do so because the global attention has shifted to Covid-19.

“Our applications to secure sunscreens are on hold, our mandate to distribute sunscreen lotions for our members is now very difficult for the past two months. We no longer have reserves of sunscreen lotions and the donor community is focusing on Covid-19,” said Maunganidze-Chimhanga.

Due to these challenges, ZIMAS was lobbying the government to distribute sunscreen lotions for free to people living with albinism.

“That’s why we are lobbying the government to distribute sunscreen lotions for free just like ARVs. Looking at the country’s population, persons with albinism are a drop in an ocean. We need government’s clemency on the issue,” she said.

Maunganidze-Chimhanga further noted that people living with albinism were experiencing skin reactions due to the use of hand sanitisers, used to prevent Covid-19 infections.

“The issue of sanitisers is affecting our skin, we have sensitive skin and most of our members are reacting from the use of the chemical,” she said.

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