Albinism is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited difference present at birth. In almost all types of albinism, both father and mother must carry the gene for it to be passed on, even if they do not have albinism themselves. The condition is found in both sexes regardless of ethnicity and in all countries of the world. Albinism results in a lack of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes which causes vulnerability to the sun and bright light. As a result, almost all people with albinism are visually impaired and are prone to developing skin cancer. There is no cure for the absence of melanin that is central to albinism.
While numbers vary, it is estimated that in North America and Europe 1 in every 17 thousands to 20 thousands people have some form of albinism. The condition is much more prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, with estimates of 1 in 14 hundreds people being affected in Tanzania and prevalence as high as 1 in 1,000 reported for select populations in Zimbabwe and for other specific ethnic groups in Southern Africa.
“Strength Beyond All Odds” is the theme for this year’s International Albinism Awareness Day. The theme was chosen to:
-Highlight the achievements of people with albinism around the world.
-Show that people with albinism can defy all odds.
-Celebrate how people with albinism worldwide meet and exceed expectations in all domains of life.
-Encourage everyone during this time of a global pandemic to join the global effort to #BuildBackBetter