SITUATION OF PERSONS WITH ALBINISM IN ZAMBIA
By John Chiti
Executive Director/ Music Activist
Albinism Foundation of Zambia
Persons with albinism are individuals with a light skin condition resulting from the absence of the
pigment called melanin in their skin, eyes and hair. Persons with albinism in Zambia are classified
as persons with disabilities on the ground that in them interacting with various attitudinal and
environmental barriers, these same barriers hinder them from participating on an equal basis
with other people in society. Thus the Persons with Disabilities Act of 2012 categorize them as
persons with disabilities, as per its definition of disability.
Persons with albinism in Zambia face various problems emanating from traditional myths and
stereotypic beliefs about the condition of albinism. These myths and beliefs have led to serious
stigma and discrimination of persons with albinism in almost all sectors of human development.
The discrimination they face in their daily lives needs to be resolved through strategic advocacy
work by them who are affected.
The Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) recognizes persons with albinism as persons
with disabilities. It is in this view that GRZ in its draft amendment Bill of the Persons with
Disabilities Act of 2012 has included issues affecting persons with albinism directly. For instance,
the Bill directly states persons with albinism shall receive free sunscreen creams. At national
level, the Ministry of General Education is already making proclamation that persons with
albinism should be taken into mainstream schools because they can be able to be included with
awareness raising among the communities, other learners and teachers. In order to fully realise
this, there should be strong strategic advocacy work from the albinism community. The
government has specifically located a fund, through the Yellow Book, to support the International
Day on Albinism which falls on 13th June each year. This is a day for awareness raising on issues
affecting persons with albinism. Without strategic advocacy skills, the albinism community would
not utilise the day meaningfully and effectively. So, there are already some policy openings within
the Zambian government which require effective advocacy to be actualized.
The society in general don’t know much about albinism and so people have put many myths,
beliefs and misconceptions on the condition. Most of these beliefs are negative and do affect
albino people negatively. Some of the common beliefs are that;
“Albino people don’t die but just disappear “
“Spiting in your shirt whenever you see an albino to avoid having or becoming one
yourself”
Such beliefs make persons with albinism to stand out and make them feel inferior to other
people. Another one of the common beliefs is that;
“Albino body parts can be used to cure certain diseases and make one rich”
This particular belief affect the albinism community greatly because it comes to offer a solution
to sicknesses and poverty. As people look for solutions to their poverty and diseases then they
come across this belief, they have high expectations because the belief itself offers them the

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