Parliament of Uganda has today kick started the annual Parliament week with a fundraising walk aimed at raising funds to construct a rehabilitation and community Centre for persons with albinism in Uganda.
The five-day activity week started this morning with an opening ceremony led by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga as chief walker flanked by Government Chief Whip Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa and Leader of Opposition in Parliament Hon. Betty Achol and other members of Parliament.
Parliament through the annual charity walk hopes to raise UGX 5bn for construction of a community and rehabilitation centre for people with albinism. “There is a lot of optimism that our goal to raise the required funds to set up a rehabilitation and community centre for persons with albinism, will be realized” The Speaker said.
Albinism in Uganda has several challenges, such as low vision, sun damage resulting in skin cancer. Persons with it face widespread discrimination often resulting from ignorance about the cause of the condition. The charity walk therefore creates awareness.
However, the Speaker says she is concerned, that despite an earlier recommendation to remove taxes on sunscreens and other equipment that aid persons with albinism to mitigate health conditions, taxes have not practically been removed.
The Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa promised to be the champion for Albino causes in the Cabinet. Adding that she will see to it that taxes are removed from sunscreens which persons with albinism find costly. She will be making a monthly contribution of UGX 1m.
Dr. Olive Namutebi the President Albinism Association says they are concerned with limited access to treatment for conditions associated with albinism. A recent study conducted in 10 districts found that 72 persons had an issue with eyesight but only 2% had received treatment.
The fundraising walk has so far raised UGX 54m. According to the Clerk to Parliament Jane L.Kibirige, Parliament has so far mobilized the required funds to purchase the plot of land for the albino community centre.