BICO Supports Persons with Albinism with Visual Aides
More than 100 persons with albinism who have visual challenges will have access to free eye services following a project by Blantyre Institute for Community Outreach (BICO) aimed at curbing challenges the people are facing.
Speaking during an advocacy training workshop in Lilongwe on Monday, BICO Executive Director Khumbo Kalua said the project was launched after noticing that many people with albinism could hardly afford to pay for eye services.
Kalua said people with albinism have common visual challenges but they are not adequately assisted hence the organisation has come with their expertise to assist those in need of the services.
Said Kalua, “There are costs but BICO will use its available resources to assist the people with albinism. The techniques for the examination of persons with albinism need people with special training in eye care and these people are already employed with BICO, and there are BICO clinics in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu; the devices are the ones which money and they cost K50,000 per person.”
Among others, the beneficiaries will receive eye testing services as well as collect devices such as sight glasses, telescopes, and sun protection body oil.
Association of Persons with Albinism national coordinator Menard Zachariah has welcomed the development, describing it as timely.
Zacharia said many persons with albinism drop out of school and others fail to drive their own cars due to visual challenges.
Zachariah added that most of the people with albinism experience skin and eye problems but struggle to access health care services as such services are expensive.
“We have a lot of school drop outs. Poor performance of people with albinism is because even teachers don’t have expertise on how to help such students with vision problems and it’s very important for us to work together.
“Now that BICO has come in, we will see more people with albinism exceling [in school] and their safety will improve now as most of them do not see far.
The project, called Low Vision Collection of People with Albinism, which is being funded by Fight for Sight to a tune of K50 million, was launched in December last year and has so far reached out to 40 people in the northern region of Malawi.
There are plans to reach out to more than 100 people depending on availability of funds.