The Albino

THE DOCTORS FOR HEALTH TEAM works regularly with albinos who have no access to healthcare due to the distance they live from the nearest clinic. Albinos are usually shunned or mocked in rural communities and as a result the majority of the albinos are reclusive. We regularly hike quite a distance to visit this young lady to help where we can. Her skin has improved tremendously over the last three months or so….

Skin cancers are a major risk associated with albinism and are thought to be a major cause of death in African albinos. The challenges associated with the care of these patients are numerous and need to be properly addressed.

Albinism has a worldwide distribution and tends to affect people of all ethnic backgrounds; its frequency worldwide is estimated to be approximately 1 in 20,000 in most populations and in Africa, incidences ranging from 1 in 2,700 to 1 in 10,000 people have been reported in various studies with the highest incidence of 1 in 1,000 people in Zimbabwe.

Melanin is a photo protective pigment, protecting the skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. Its deficiency in people with albinism predisposes them to the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation exposure, resulting in issues such as photophobia, decreased visual acuity, extreme sun sensitivity, and skin cancers. High levels of exposure to ultraviolet radiation increase the risk of all three major forms of skin cancer.

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