Albinism in Tanzania: the struggle to survive
Witchdoctor-led violence against people with albinism has left them fearing for their lives and lacking adequate healthcare
- By: Elizabeth Emsley
People with albinism have often had to fight stigma attached to their condition, many having to deal with name calling and social exclusion. However, in some parts of the world, those living with albinism face more extreme danger. In some areas of East Africa, particularly Tanzania—which has a high prevalence of albinism—there has been a belief, perpetuated by witchdoctors, that the body parts of people with albinism bring luck.1 People with albinism in Tanzania have experienced kidnap, dismemberment, murder, and their graves have been robbed2 because of attempts by witchdoctors to procure their body parts. The social isolation of people with albinism in Tanzania puts them in further danger because it has meant that they have not been adequately screened and protected from skin cancer, from which they are at particular risk.
Albinism is a collection of inherited disorders characterised by little or none of the skin pigment, melanin (box