In January, Tanzania announced the abolition of witchdoctors in an effort to prevent further murders of those suffering with albinism.

Albinos in Burundi - hunted for body parts Image Credit: IFRC (Flickr)

Albinos in Burundi – hunted for body parts
Image Credit: IFRC (Flickr)

There have been 75 albino related killings since 2000. In 2009, the problem was so bad that the Tanzanian government started to place children with albinism in special homes in order to protect them against attacks.

In February, a one year old boy with albinism was taken from his home in the Geita region of Tanzania. Two days after the abduction, his mutilated body was found with no arms or legs. His mother was also injured in the incident, while his sister remains in police protection.

The problems facing those with albinism is two-fold: Their body parts are seen as lucky, witchdoctors use their skin, hair or organs as charms or for spells to bring luck and wealth; they can also be seen as people who are cursed, or bad luck omens.

Albino child Image Credit: mojotrotters (Flickr)

Albino child
Image Credit: mojotrotters (Flickr)

According to ‘Hats on for Skin Health’, Albinism is an inherited condition in which the body does not produce the pigment melanin, resulting in a person with pale skin, light hair, pinkish eyes and impaired vision. The condition affects one in every 20,000 people worldwide. However, in Tanzania this rate is much higher, affecting an estimated one in every 1,429.

Due to the warm climate in Tanzania, those suffering with albinism are more prone to skin cancer from an early age. Worse still, the mortality rate for those diagnosed with skin cancer relating to albinism is extremely high due to the lack of resources.

The website, www.worldchannel.org, released a documentary about the problems faced by those suffering with albinism:

 

With thanks to social media, the plight of those under attack is now gaining awareness: