The government of Tanzania on Sunday pledged full protection of people with albinism by reinforcing their security.
Ummy Hamisi Nderiananga, the deputy minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office responsible for persons with disabilities, said people with albinism should feel safe because their protection remained the government's priority agenda.
Nderiananga was speaking at an event to mark the International Albinism Awareness Day in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.
“The government is in the process of reviewing laws and policies on persons with disabilities, including people with albinism, in order to make them more accommodative,” she said after inspecting medical services provided to people with albinism by government and charitable institutions.
The minister urged development partners and non-governmental organisations to continue working closely with the government in improving the welfare of people with albinism.
Masanja Aaron John, an 18-year-old student with albinism, said he has travelled over 1,000 kms from the Kigoma region to Dar es Salaam to attend the International Albinism Awareness Day event in order to get free medical services.
“Government and private institutions mark the day and offer free medical services to people with albinism. I was able to screen my skin for cancer free of charge,” said John.
Free services provided in commemorating the occasion include screening for skin cancer, distribution of sunscreen lotion, eye examination and counselling.
Mussa Kabimba, the national secretary general of the Tanzania Albinism Society, said the country with a population of about 16,000 people with albinism witnessed a wave of killings and kidnappings of albinos beginning in 2006. The population was recorded during the 2012 national census.
He told Xinhua in an interview that between 2006 and 2014 at least 70 albinos were killed and 30 others lost their limbs. But after the government heightened their security only one killing has been reported between 2015 and 2021.
People with albinism were over the years subjected to a spate of brutal killings in Tanzania, driven by the belief that their body parts possess magical powers capable of bringing riches.
International Albinism Awareness Day is celebrated annually on June 13. The theme of the day this year is Strength Beyond All Odds.