Living with albinism can be most challenging; the health challenges of albinos are numerous.
Albinos are very susceptible to specific health conditions, principally dermatological and ophthalmic vulnerabilities, requiring higher levels of care and attention.
Such care and attention are seldom available to Albinos here in Samoa.
This was the primary reason why the Clarence Sebastian Foundation (C.S.F) handed out Sunscreen lotion and Lucas pawpaw skin lotion to its members. The C.S.F board also presented a modest financial gift to the recipients who were thankful and generous in their praise of the C.S.F efforts.
The radiation of the sun remains the most recurrent threat to albinos because of the fragility of their skin surface.
Without educated care and attention, indiscriminate exposure to the sun can cause irreparable damage to the skin to those with Albinism.
High level exposure to sun light can lead to freckled skin and sun burns which could develop into skin cancer. The dermatological vulnerability of the skin of people living with albinism makes them more at risk of developing skin cancer.
Research shows that skin cancer constitutes eighty percent (80%) of the health problems of people living with albinism. Other skin conditions include freckles, moles and seborrhoeickeratoses (a type of skin lesion).
Officially named on June 29, 2012, The Clarence Sebastian (CS) Foundation was recently established to cater to the health and social needs of Albinos in Samoa. At the moment, the CS Foundation will be the only operating Centre of its kind for Albinos to the east of New Zealand and eventually extending its support out to our South Pacific Neighbours such as Tahiti, Tonga and Fiji.
Albinism is a rare form of skin disorder characterized by a lack of color pigment in the eyes, hair and skin. To date, there are nearly 300 albinos living within the Samoan community. They face many health risks such as blistering sores, blinding eyesight, high-risk to skin cancer but most damaging is the fight of social ridicule and discrimination due to their physical appearance.
Through our Clarence Sebastian Foundation, it has become our mission and our hope to promote awareness in educating families, the community and provide medical support in means of financial aid and research.
Samoans with albinism have limited access to health resources and information about albinism. As a result, their skin is extensively sun damaged by early adulthood and they have no assistance with their vision impairment, which is often within the legally blind range.
This can then limit their education and career choices and they may find themselves having to work in labour jobs out in the sun, instead of predominately indoor occupations.
We want to help educate and assist people with albinism living in Samoa with the aim of enabling them to help themselves now and for future generations. To do this we need a facility where people can come for social or in any way medical help. We are in need of an Albinism Help Centre here in Samoa.