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Kenyans living with albinism to get free sun care products

Health & Science - By Mercy Adhiambo | September 29th 2015 at 06:09:38 GMT +0300
Nominated MP Isaac Mwaura (2nd Right) is joined by KEMSA Operations Director Joshua Obell (Left) PS Labour Social security and services Ismail Ali Noor (2nd Left), Wajir North MP Mohamed Hussein Gabbow and Lydia Mugure(right). PHOTO: WILLIS AWANDU/STANDARD

NAIROBI: The Government is set to spend Sh144 million for the skin care products' programme on people living with albinism.

The programme being implemented by the government through The National Council of People with Disability (NCPWD) in partnership with Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) aims at buying and distributing for free assorted products to help people living with albinism to cope with their condition.

The amount is part of the Sh1.3 billion Treasury allocated to people living with disability for the current financial year.

The programme will supply more than 3,000 people living with albinism with sunscreen lotions, lip care products, after sun lotions, protective clothing, and easier access to eye care products in government hospitals at no fee.

During the flagging off of the products in Nairobi, Isaac Mwaura who is a nominated Member of Parliament for Special Interest Groups said recognizing that people with albinism need sun protection products is a step towards the right direction. He added that availability of the products will reduce the rising number of people with albinism who get cancer.

"For so long, people with albinism had to depend on donations to access products they need for their skin. Since the products are very expensive, most of them were forced to do without them, and this was very harmful to their skin," said Mwaura who is the first Kenyan MP living with albinism.

KEMSA Chief Executive Officer John Munyu assured the beneficiaries that the products have gone through a series of quality checks and evaluation to ensure that they are the best quality. He further added that the procurement, warehousing and distribution of the commodities will adhere to the standards set by the ministry of health.

The Quality assurance manager for KEMSA John Aduda assured members of the public that the products have gone through a comprehensive quality assurance system to ensure they are safe.

"Before procurement, we check and evaluate everything before we release the products to the users," said Aduda.

The permanent secretary, ministry of labour, social security and services Ali Noor Ismail appealed to people with albinism to come out in large numbers to pick up the products.

"These products are crucial because people with albinism are susceptible to skin cancer caused by ultra violet rays. It is my hope that this programme will arrest the possibility of persons with albinism suffering from skin cancer," said Noor.

He added that his ministry is committed in fighting for the rights of people with disability, and they are finalizing the review of the Persons with Disability Act of 2003 to ensure the disabled enjoy their constitutional rights.

The chairman of the NCPDW David Ole Sankok on his part assured people with albinism that they will sunscreen lotions every month.

He also said that they are making plans to come up with a center where the products will be produced locally to ensure sustainability of the programme.

"We will also establish National Albinism Dermatological Support and Referral Center as a long term measure to produce sun screen lotion and other skin protective products, including affordable glasses," said Sankok.

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