Albinism in Senegal

In an empty classroom, armed with only a stethoscope, first aid kit and prescription pad I provide a free clinic for people with albinism (popularly called albinos) in Senegal. I provide basic care, give information and hand-out sunscreen. It is October 13, a national day for people with albinism, organized by their interest group. It’s just a gesture, because the real need is much greater. The circumstances are difficult, especially now the government recently pulled back its financial support for the organization and a large donation of sunscreen from the Netherlands has been stopped by customs.

In Africa, 0,01 – 0.1% of the population lives with albinism. Albinism is a genetically caused defect in the production of melanin. Melanin has a role in

making pigment in the skin and the eyes. People with albinism therefore have light, sun-sensitive skin and eye disorders. The risk of skin cancer is the biggest threat. Without proper protective clothing, hat and sunscreen, people with albinism develop skin tumors at a young age.

Besides physical problems this group faces severe social exclusion. Due to a lack of information, there is a multitude of myths. This is even so serious that people with albinism have been killed, so their bones could be used for traditional medicines. There is also a rumor that intercourse with someone with albinism can cure one of AIDS. Besides these extreme excesses, people with albinism are considered as third-class citizens.

They are excluded, rarely attend school and the family is often ashamed of them.

Mr. Bamba Diop is committed to the interest of people with albinism in Senegal. He is working on a national program for assistance in the fields of medical care, education and information. Through a friend I met Mr. Bamba Diop. It is a pleasure to work with him, and for I consider it a a great privilege to use my medical skills to serve these people. In so doing I hope they will see that God does not exclude them and that Jesus really cares about them. We pray that the cooperation will last for many years to come.


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  1. Jolien #

    Heel, héél mooi werk Tabitha! Veel zegen toegewenst!

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