Opinion

Sunscreen Should Be on Essential Medicines List, Ero Recommends

The first UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights with persons with albinism Ikponwosa Ero has called on the Government through the Ministry of Health to include sunscreen
08 Dec 2017 18:23
Sunscreen Should Be on Essential Medicines List, Ero Recommends
UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights with persons with albinism Ikponwosa Ero. Photo: Wati Talebula

The first UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights with persons with albinism Ikponwosa Ero has called on the Government through the Ministry of Health to include sunscreen in the essential medicines list.

By this Ms Ero said the albino community in Fiji would have accessibility to the much needed product to protect their skin from the sun’s rays.

And she has urged Fijians to consider producing sunscreen locally.

Ms Ero made the comment after a meeting with various stakeholders from Government, civil society and people with albinism to gather information about the albino community here.

“I recommended that sunscreen which protects the skin from skin cancer is not only for tourists but also an essential medicine. We have requested to the Ministry of Health to put sunscreen on the essential medicines list that the government facilitates because it is essential for albinism. And they are in agreement so I am looking forward to this,” Ms Ero said.

Ms Ero said it sounds expensive to locally manufacture sunscreen in Fiji, however, it is not.

“We have countries that have done this. The Attorney-General is open to this and I hope next time I come to Fiji you will be producing sunscreen in Fiji and here in the region. This could be a lucrative source of income for Fiji and Fijians with albinism,” Ms Ero added.

From her observations after discussions with relevant authorities, she said currently skin screening is done by the Fijian Albinism Project, managed by foreigners.

And she believes that this can be done by locals to take charge of a similar project.

“I have recommended to the Government to take charge of this Fijiian Albinism Project which caters for skin problems for albinism people.”

Ms Ero stressed on the fact that Fiji needed more qualified dermatologists and that the Government has been made aware of.

She understands that training for dermatologists will start from next year in collaboration with the Fijian Albinism Project.

“I am a person with albinism and I understand what they are going through and in most cases they have an emotional breakdown. I can sense that what they are going through on a personal level,”Ms Ero said.

She urged the Government to step up efforts to ensure that all schools in the country are provided with appropriate infrastructure and materials in order to accommodate the special needs in all students including those living with albinism.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback:  wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj



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