The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has initiated a programme to partner with a foundation to assist the Albino. Our reporter, Evelyn Okoruwa reports how the project will assist the Albino.
In attempt to fast track the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, the office of the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on MDGs has given a total reassessment to the plights of people living with the generic condition of albinism through the maspro project.
LEADERSHIP gathered that MDG Albino Support Project (MASPRO) is a program designed for the vulnerable group of the Nigerian society with the principal consideration for people living with albinism and that the approval of the MASPRO project followed a courtesy visit and a formal proposal by the Albino foundation to the SSAP on MDGs, Dr. Precious Gbeneol.
The founder of The Albino Foundation (TAF), Mr. Jake Epelle commended the SSAP-MDGs’ efforts to ameliorate the deteriorating condition of Albinos even as he narrated the repugnant phenomenon associated with Albinos.
According to him, “Apart from the dermatological condition of their skin, which makes them especially vulnerable to the radiation of the sun, the Albinos are also visually impaired as they have peculiar challenges with their ocular focus”.
Mr. Epelle informed the public that the federal government had exhibited tremendous concern and support in addressing the incapacity of most Albinos to address these challenges. He said that in the area of prevention of skin cancer, the federal government has provided both institutional and minimal financial support to the Foundation through collaborating with the MDAs to help step up awareness and education of skin cancer and susceptibility of Albinos to it. He also said that “government has also supported various initiatives of the foundation aimed at educating albinos about how they can prevent the condition; the federal government also provides financial support for Albinos who developed skin cancer and required treatment from intensive chemotherapy to surgery”.
Dr. Gbeneol as a medical expert also gave an elaborative explanation of the effect of the principal challenges dwelling with the Albinos. She revealed that radiation of the sun remains the most recurrent threat to Albinos because of the delicateness of their skin surface. “Without educated care and attention, indiscriminate exposure to the sun can cause irreparable damage to the skin of the Albino,” she said, even as she noted that skin cancer remains the most potent and recurrent threat globally to people living with Albinism.
The SSAP added that the maspro initiative is a special empowerment project designed for the vulnerable section of Nigeria’s general populace with principal consideration for people living with Albinism. According to her, “The initial consideration and consequent approval of the maspro project followed a courtesy call and a formal proposal by The Albino Foundation requesting both institutional and financial support to the foundation in its numerous programme initiatives designed to educate Nigerians about the conditions of millions of Nigerians who live with genetic condition of Albinism”.
“Thus the principal consideration of the project is firmly based on the recognition of The Albino Foundation as the strongest advocate of people living with albinism and a voice of the vulnerable in Nigeria”.
Dr.Gbeneol said that the Maspro partnered initiative was set to leverage on both the institutional capacity and resources of her office and the mileage of the foundation as an effective channel to reach a hitherto undeserved group of Nigerians.
She further disclosed that her office is “highly elated to be partnering with the foundation in this laudable initiative that is designed to take Nigeria another step further towards the attainment of ultimate goal that is the attainment of the MDGs”.
From her explanation, the initiative is poised to further contribute in no small amount to improving Nigeria’s performance in targeted MDGs, specifically Goal 1, 2 and 8 which are to eradicate extreme poverty, achieve universal primary education and develop global partnership for development. The initiative is set to address three focus areas that directly impact the social-economic wellbeing of people living with albinism in Nigeria, especially when the areas are advocacy support to the various awareness programmes currently being championed by the foundation, economic empowerment of TAF recommended albinos as well as non albinos classified as vulnerable and policy support in the area of social inclusion for albinos.
The foundation said that the SSA benevolently demonstrated a high level of concern to the welfare of the TAF by donating a vehicle and some gadgets in form of clothes that will protect the albinos from the very harsh radiation of the sun to shelve and eschew cancer from affecting them. For them, March 24, 2012 remains a memorable day for many albinos who took part in the recently conducted UTME across the country as they included in the existing “extra time” policy for the blind and visually impaired. The albinos were allowed to benefit from the extra two hours 25 minutes added by the JAMB to the official time allotted to the blind and visually impaired to write the UTME.