"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

How the media might help protect individuals with albinism. A case study from Tanzania

Albinism It is a rare genetic condition that affects the pigment within the eyes, hair and skin. Albinism affects about 1 in 17,000 people within the United States. In Africa spread Estimates range from 1 in 1100 to 1 in 15,000. But in Tanzania the speed is far higher – about 1 in each one 1,400.

It is probably the most common and most severe type in sub-Saharan Africa. the eye Albinism, which supplies people white hair, Pink Skin, low vision or blindness and hypersensitivity Skin cancer.

People with albinism in Africa face a Range of prejudices and social stigmas. They are sometimes dismissed as belonging to a different race, or as ghosts or spirits. mine research confirms it.

The research checked out the role of the media in protecting the human rights of individuals with albinism. The media has. power To perpetuate misconceptions about albinism. It also can break down these prejudices, and play a positive role in protecting individuals with albinism from abuse.


In East Africa, adults and kids with albinism face discrimination and human rights violations. Beliefs It is rooted in witchcraft that albino body parts bring wealth and good luck.

There are many. Murder For body parts, including infants and kids.

Majority attacks Happened in Tanzania. Attempted assassinations and attacks, although less quite a few, have also been documented in Burundi, Kenya, Swaziland, Guinea, Nigeria, South Africa, Congo, Zambia, Namibia, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.

mine research Looked at media reports published between 2008 and 2011 about albinism and albino killings in Tanzania. I published one. The dataset 563 media reports in each English and Swahili from Tanzanian national newspapers.

The data show that the Tanzanian press portrayed and explained violent attacks against individuals with albinism. Four Ways that they were:

Discussing attacks as cultural practices and economic activities contributes to the spread of myths and stereotypes and shows how violence is monetized, making life difficult and dangerous for individuals with albinism. .

Media reporting of those attacks as crimes that may result in the death penalty is essential in reducing violence. The key message ought to be that folks with albinism are human beings with rights and the entire community should treat them well and protect them from harm.

The majority of articles recognized individuals with albinism as legitimate members of society, using phrases similar to “our fellow human beings” and “our countrymen and women, our own kin.” They also reported strong support from political leaders for individuals with albinism.

The articles emphasized the protection of individuals with albinism and advocated fighting discrimination against them through the use of the law to discover and prosecute their attackers. He also advocated political activism to finish discrimination.

Many articles attacked the myths surrounding albinism, emphasizing that witchcraft couldn't bring wealth.

But not all media coverage was helpful. Some articles contributed to spreading myths and rumors about albinism by irresponsibly reporting on the monetary value of assorted body parts.

In some cases, the language utilized by the media failed to completely highlight the challenges affecting individuals with albinism. For example, the Swahili term for individuals with albinism, (individuals with skin defects) was recurrently used. This description fails to acknowledge the indisputable fact that individuals with albinism also need proper eye care.

What will be done?

There is an urgent need to deal with the violence faced by this vulnerable group. Public health Awareness is a vital first step. And priority ought to be given to adequate health services for the skin and visually impaired.

It can also be essential to present messages that combat stigma against people living with albinism, similar to access to education.

But interference ought to be taken under consideration Human rights. For example, keeping children with albinism in camps may protect their right to life and security, but it surely limits their rights to freedom of movement and family life.