This is a key program since one cannot separate health concerns and Persons with Albinism. Its broken down to the following:
- Linda Ngozi – Skin Care.
- Linda Macho – Eye Care.
- Nisikilize- Mental Healthcare.
This is a Skin Cancer prevention and treatment program. Due to prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and harmful ultraviolet sunrays, Person with Albinism are at the highest risk of contracting Skin Cancer which is the number one threat and killer disease prematurely amongst Person with Albinism. The need to maintain Person with Albinism’ skin in order to challenge the beauty narrative also informed the program’s inception.
According to our findings, Men are more vulnerable to this because they are the bread winners and are mostly exposed to the scorching sun in search for their family’s daily bread. They also take less care of their skins compared to women. The scorching sun damages the skin of Person with Albinism hence a negative perception about Albinism based on their outward appearance.
This program area aims at ensuring that Person with Albinism are encouraged to apply sunscreen lotions and wear protective clothing before being exposed to direct sunlight. It also seeks to help provide relevant and quality medical care for them, as there is limited knowledge, expertise and facilities to treat Skin Cancer in Kenya and Africa.
ASK shall seek to partner with other like-minded organizations to procure sunscreen lotions, protective clothing (hats, long sleeved shirts/blouses and protective makeup). The organization also organizes for Skin Cancer screening and treatment to the affected Person with Albinism. In addition, it creates awareness to them, their parents and the public on the importance of skin protection. The organization also facilitates the process of treatment of many victims of Skin Cancer.
Skin Cancer screening is critical in mitigating premature death amongst Person with Albinism. They unknowingly have Actinic Keratosis and other types of Skin Cancers but the level or type of cancer varies. Due to this, ASK intends to carry out screening across the country, in order to diagnose and treat the disease at an early age before it becomes debilitating or fatal.
Person with Albinism have little or no pigmentation in their eyes hence difficulty in seeing far including tiny or light-reflected objects. Low vision and sensitivity to light are therefore a common characteristic of many Person with Albinism.
Linda Macho is a program which was initiated to help improve their eyesight, hence improved performance in schools at work and improved quality of life.
ASK seeks sponsorships and partnerships to provide prescription glasses and other optical devices for Person with Albinism and helps create awareness on eye protection and provision of other eye care services specific to the Albinism eye.
Nisikilize (Mental Health)
This program offers counselling services to Person with Albinism, their parents, guardians and caregivers. It was initiated after establishing that Person with Albinism have been facing a lot of traumatic psychological experiences due to poverty, stigmatization, discrimination, unemployment, poor health care, lack of shelter malnutrition, rejection amongst other challenges. Lack of societal tolerance and acceptability towards Person with Albinism has increasingly exposed them to exclusion since majority they remain invisible, despite their high physical color visibility.
Low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence resulting from discrimination has caused Person with Albinism to believe that they have to try extra hard in order to be accepted. Teenagers in particular have become vulnerable to peer pressure. Many engage in dangerous and risky behaviors in order to impress upon peers in order to gain acceptance. Some resort to excessive drinking and drug taking, to try to escape the prejudice and abuse they are exposed to, thus leading to poor health care and unplanned pregnancies. ASK therefore seeks to offer guidance, counseling mentorship and other related services to its members in order to promote and protect their mental health, self-confidence and esteem.