I happen to have grown up around lots of albinos , these children were very normal kids , who could do the same things I could , a larger percentage of them wore glasses and most of them were not allowed by their parents to play in the sun with us. Amongst all these restrictions, the one that affected them the most was the stigmatization.Asides the lack of coloration , I didn’t see what was wrong with them, but I always saw them being mocked.
Albinism is a gentic disorder characterised by the lack of color in the hair , skin and eyes. Although it is a genetic disorder the most challenges people with this face is societal stigma. We find the majority in Sub-saharan Africa. Albinism affects the skin and vision with an increased risk of skin cancer and sunburn .
There is no cure for albinism but some symptoms ca be treated.
Also, albinism can be diagnosed prenatally by some medical tests. That is , a mother can find out if her child would be an albino or not . However , both parents must be carriers of the gene before it can be manifested in the child . What is implied by “both parents must be carriers ” is that both mother and father must have either a recessive(not physically manifested ) or dominant(physically manifested ) gene of albinism.
Parents can find out if they are carriers by HAIRBULB PIGMENTATION TEST, a type of test whereby a portion of hair from the individual is incubated in a solution of tyrosine , if the hair tuens darl , melanin is forming , no albinism detected. Upon the reverse of this , the hair turns lighter in color , the individual then is a carrier.
As for the unborn child , amniocentesis (drawing fluids from the fetus within the first fifteen weeks of pregnancy) , but this would only be necessary when both parents have tested positive to the hair bulb pigmentation test.
If ,by chance a mother finds out she will be having an albino child , the decision as to what to do should be completely up to her. The disabilities that come with albinism , like the extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness can be managed properly.
Written by: Chisom Nwobodo