Albinism in Fiji- An Important Problem Steps Out Of The Shadows.



Albinism in Fiji and the Fiji Albinism Project (FAP) came about from identifying a problem, engaging relevant stakeholders and together developed strategies to meet the issues head-on. Albinism is an inherited condition. In Fiji as many as 1:700 of the indigenous iTaukei population could be effected by the condition. The health impacts of albinism include poor vision and a high risk of developing skin cancer. While violence towards people with albinism is not known in Fiji, the problems of marginalization remain. In November 2014, when a National news segment aired a story about a small albinism workshop at the Fiji School for the Blind, concerns regarding albinism had not previously been publicly discussed in any forum in Fiji. Mainstream schools and health sectors had not identified albinism as a disability, nor a health issue that required specific management protocols. By January 2015 the FAP had formed a committee, which now has representation from the albinism community, disability, health and education sectors. FAP achievements include a national albinism awareness conference, publishing albinism specific educational booklets, organising Albinism Awareness Day celebration, focusing on UN albinism policies, and an invitation to share a MOH stand at the 2016 National Hibiscus Festival. FAP assisted with a national nurse based survey on albinism knowledge, which has highlighted the need for further education within this sector. The rapid growth FAP, over the past two years, demonstrates how inter sectorial collaboration is paramount when undertaking and implementing Public Health health promotion on complex issues like albinism. Key Messages 1. Community development/engagement, capacity building, partnerships 2. Health Promotion 3. Education


Lisa Maude