June 19, 2021

APAM pushes for K600 million probe meant for housing scheme

Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) has challenged government to probe more into K600 million which was allocated for the construction of houses for persons with albinism (PWAs) in the 2019/2020 budget.

Ian Simbota, who is also president for APAM, made the remarks in Dowa on Thursday 22 April 2021 during an interface meeting which the association organized with service providers to account their efforts towards the well-being of persons with albinism.

Simbota said despite the promise which the previous government made to release K600 million allocated for the construction of houses nothing was built.

“We did the identification process and came up with a list of beneficiaries but up-to-now we are surprised to see no structure hence pushing for an audit which we believe will establish who squandered the money,” he said.

Simbota said as an association their target is to track down attacks, abduction, brutal killings and exhumation cases to 0% where he asked government to be pro-active.

“Massive education and awareness-raising campaigns can help combat superstition and stigma associated with albinism,” Simbota added.

He further urged the current government to fully support and make them more independent, self-sufficient and recognized as equals within Malawian society while receiving the same educational and other opportunities that exist for able-bodied people.

Simbota said that the outcomes drawn from the meeting will also help them to see if what is in the Nation Action Plan answers the problems on the ground.

Wesley Malili, the current chairperson for Dowa Association of Persons with Albinism, bemoaned inadequate funding from government.

He cited an example of Dowa District Council where through Social Welfare, the association received from government a sum of K2.6 million meant for the whole year of 2020 which he said was not enough.

Among others Malili proposed to the association to lobby for funds to introduce pass-on projects on animal production, revolving funds which he believes have the potential to change their social status.

Chinsinsi Gama, a person with albinism, has commended government over its effort in ensuring that their lives are protected. She however lamented over false hopes and promises from some leaders which she said is propagated by political agenda.

The association has of late discovered that in most public hospitals, there are few dermatologists who lack cryogens used to treat pre-cancer wounds commonly affecting persons with albinism.

By Kaitano Lubrino

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