ABUJA, NIGERIA: Nigerian Cynthia Ukachi has been suffering from albinism since 2018. The doctors informed her that it is an early stage of skin cancer, and it had been started due to exposure to the sun.
The Nigerian government has offered a scheme that provides free skin cancer care for people with albinism, and Ukachi had surgery to remove the affected was treated.
However, Ukachi says the malignant skin cells returned months ago, long after the government concluded its free treatment plan.
“I have three on my neck, I have two at my back, and I just have this on my forehead here,” she said. “It looks very small but very painful and can bleed.”
As per the information provided by the aid group, around 4 million albinos in Nigeria could be at threat of skin cancer
without prevailing government support.
Ukachi says she cannot afford the treatment. Every affected skin area can cost up to $350 to treat.
Nigerian authorities started the program in 2007, and the Albinism Association of Nigeria informed around 5,500 patients, including Ukachi, were aided from it before it was discontinued for lack of funding.
Jake Epelle, a skin cancer survivor and AAN’s president, said, “Even the current administration started the lean implementation at the beginning of their tenure but then reneged. The reason is simply the poverty of funds and the fact that they cannot continue to offer this treatment. The effect is that persons with albinism are dying in droves.”
This month, during a national awareness day to remember people living with albinism, the AAN restructured its calls for the government to repair free skin cancer treatment.
Further, ANN introduced its calls for the government to reinstate free skin cancer treatment. n During the national awareness day, AAN reintroduced its call for the government to reinstate free skin cancer treatment, to remember people living with albinism.