Beatrice Guzu the Executive Secretary of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWDs) has called upon the Vitiligo persons across the country to add their voices on theirs towards their inclusion in the category of people with disabilities.
According to Beatrice, they’re programs like the National special grant that benefit People with Disabilities across the country, and currently persons with Vitiligo can’t benefit from them because they aren’t recognized yet they are also entitled.
“As a council, we have written a resolution to the Minister requesting her to amend schedule 3 of the Persons with Disability Act so that persons with Vitiligo are included. This is why I call upon the Vitiligo community to add their voice and support what the council has submitted so far” Beatrice highlighted.
Beatrice made these remarks at the commemoration of World Vitiligo Day that was held at Kamwokya a Kampala suburb on Sunday.
Vitiligo is a condition in which one’s skin loses melanin, (the pigment that determines the color of your skin hair, and eyes). When the cells that produce melanin die or no longer form melanin, white patches of irregular shapes appear on one’s skin, these usually start as small areas of pigment loss that later spread and become larger with time.
Beatrice also applauded the Vitiligo Association of Uganda for their advocacy and committed their full support as the Council on highlighting the issues of Vitiligo persons in Uganda.
Celebrated under the theme “Vitiligo; Looking into the Future” the Executive Director of the Vitiligo Association of Uganda, Eve Atukunda noted that the challenges persons with Vitiligo face are mainly caused by the myths spread in our societies and this has brought about isolation and discrimination.
“Currently you find a person living with Vitiligo having low self-esteem and confidence which makes them unable to live to the full capacity of their lives” she asserted.
Eve also appealed to the government to look at Vitiligo as a health condition and to also include it in the health main streaming sector as it is with Malaria, TB, and fistula amongst others.
“Government should also find out what medication these people need and make it available, the medicines that are available are expensive and hard to access which makes those in this situation hard to survive” she added.
Peninah Mukatushabira the chief mobilizer of the Vitiligo Association of Uganda opened up that for the 15 years she has spent with this disability, she has encountered several challenges that dragged her into depression and that’s why they started this organization to rescue all those that have Vitiligo.
She also suggested that the awareness of Vitiligo should start from a family level because through this everyone will get to know about this subject.
In her remarks, Najjuka Vivian a Vitiligo advocate said that they have commemorated this day mainly to seek recognition from the public plus the Health Ministry and to end the stigma of people with Vitiligo which is on the rise.
“We also want to spread the information that Vitiligo isn’t contagious and infectious, the public should embrace these people and not discriminate against them it’s just a disorganization of their immune system” She noted.
Edson Kakuru an advocate who also attended the celebrations noted that these people are just like other humans, they have the same intellectual ability as us and they should just be supported.
“I make a call to everyone out there to come through and empower these people, if we come together and appreciate their differences and support them, it is one way we can be able to achieve unity and embrace diversity” he explained.
Across the world, World Vitiligo Day is observed on June 25th to celebrate the lives of those with Vitiligo and to also build global awareness about this skin disease.