Club donates, raises TAS awareness on cancer

DAR ES SALAAM: THE Tanzania Albinism Society (TAS) recently got the assistance of sunscreens and an assortment of ointments among other paraphernalia to protect them against the sunlight.

The support is also meant to help them lessen the risks of developing cancer due to the absence of melanin in their skin, which provides natural protection against harmful Ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Presenting the donation in Dar es Salaam recently, the Rotary Club of Dar es Salaam Peninsula president Nazeer Tajudin said supporting the vulnerable groups in the society, especially in fighting cancer should be treated as a humanitarian thing.

He added: “Apart from conducting free medical camp services in public, we also raise awareness against ailments like Cancer and build a brighter future where people with albinism can take their place throughout society with no hindrance.

“We thought of donating some items to these people because, people with albinism are impaired physically…their skin, eyes and hair lack melanin the pigment which determines skin colour and prevents ultraviolet rays from damaging DNA and vision, potentially causing skin cancer.

In a context like Tanzania, heat damage can be severe from an early age, particularly as limited awareness around the use of sunscreen and the high cost of these products means that they are not widely accessible.

As the majority of people with albinism are technically blind and very sensitive to light, this limited vision often meets the criteria of a disability and in most cases prevents full social participation of people with albinism on an equal basis with others.”

According to the last population census, as many as 1 in 1,400 people in Tanzania are estimated to have albinism. Sponsoring the club in the donation, Airtel Tanzania promised to partner with the TAS in addressing some of their needs, especially in accessing the former’s services in telecommunications.

Elaborating, Airtel Public Relations and Corporate Communications, Jackson Mmbando, said that they are ready to provide the people with Airtel lines, which would enable them to communicate and get other services as any ordinary Tanzanian.

In the awareness campaign, Mr Mmbando noted that the group deserves special attention in their Corporate Social Responsibility that plows back into employment generations and healthcare support, where most albinos require assistance.

On behalf of TAS, Dar es Salaam Coordinator, Gaston Mcheka narrated how people living with albinism are stigmatised and discriminated against based on skin colour difference and the way this affects a person’s ability to lead a full social life.

He further said that the majority of people with albinism in Tanzania live in marginalised social conditions and a state of economic vulnerability because, apart from having a different physical appearance and suffering from visual impairments, they cannot actively take part in agrarian work due to their sensitivity to the sun, and this effectively excludes them from engaging in the major productive activity in most rural areas

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