The European Union has given the Albino Foundation 155, 838 euros (about N70 million) for baseline survey on the condition of People with Albinism (PWAs) in Nigeria.
This was revealed by the Founder of the Foundation, Mr Jake Epelle, who told newsmen in Abuja that the fund was also to provide policy and legal reform to improve the condition of PWAs.
He said that the money would also be used to pursue production of sun-protection creams for PWAs, using local and natural products.
“Right now, there is over N70 million provided by the EU for a baseline study for the beginning of census of persons with albinism and other issues.
“It is the first of its kind in the world that an organisation is supporting a census of persons with albinism,” Epelle said
He said that the foundation was operating in six states and Abuja, adding that “when we come out of that we expect other organisations or the EU to give us more funds so that we get the number of albinos.
“It is a very important project for us; it is one of the most important projects. So, we are working with the National Population Commission.”
He added that the fund would also be applied in increasing social mechanisms for PWAs and identified services for them, noting that it would advance protection of PWAs’ rights.
Epelle, however, stated that the foundation would need between N400 million and N500 million to conduct the national baseline survey of PWAs.
“To do the baseline study is very expensive venture; it is somewhere between N400 million N500 million because of the geographical nature of the country.
“We are still having difficulty in accessing the PWAs in the hinterland, but we are committed to do it. This is the first baseline project ever for PWAs.’’
Epelle disclosed that the foundation would organise a roundtable to review the National Agency for Albinism and Hypo-Pigmentation Bill (2017), adding that it would explore ways for tertiary medical facilities to treat PWAs free.
He said the foundation would engage private and public-sector partnerships for provision of economically-empowering opportunities for members, including provision of grants and products to start business.
He added that the foundation would also embark on primary and secondary schools sensitisation to create environment conducive for children and young persons with albinism.