Prevention and treatment of skin diseases among people living with albinism

— Burkina Faso —

BACKGROUND

Burkina Faso has 27 dermatologists for a population of 19.5 million, 70% of which is concentrated in the country’s two largest cities. Along with two partners, the Foundation is establishing a pilot programme of medical trailers to educate people with albinism and provide access to diagnoses and treatment of skin lesions.

This two-year pilot project is being led by SOBUDEC (the Burkinabé Society of Dermatology, Aesthetics and Cosmetology) in partnership with ABIPA (the Burkinabé Association for the Integration of Albino People) and the Yalgado Ouédraogo University Hospital. It is based on a programme that has been successfully run since 2016 in Mali.

During its pilot phase, the programme is targeting 180 people with albinism living in the Central Eastern region of Burkina Faso. The proposed actions being implemented focus on education in risk prevention and access to diagnosis and treatment of skin lesions using medical trailers. These travelling clinics are organised for three days every four months and involve dermatologists for consultations and minor surgery, nurses for patient registration and routine treatment, as well as facilitators from the association to greet patients and raise awareness.

Training of doctors and healthcare workers

SOBUDEC provided preliminary training sessions in malignant tumour surgery to the country’s 27 dermatologists. Ten GPs and 10 nurses were trained in screening for skin diseases, as well as in patient education and prevention, with five facilitators from ABIPA.

The travelling consultation is completely free and provides minor surgery, cryotherapy and the appliance of dressings, which can be followed up later by the trained nurse and doctor. The cost of treating complications of the disease and patients referral to Ouagadougou will also be funded by the project, including travel, surgery and medication.

Finally, hats and sun creams are also distributed free of charge. After a year, the project expects creams to be produced locally.

KEY FACTS
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Priority
Dermatology

Programme
Since 2019

Type of involvement
Distributor and operator

Actions

  • Establishment of travelling clinics for free screening consultations and treatment of skin diseases among people living with albinism.
  • Training of dermatologists, doctors and healthcare workers in screening, treatment and surgery.
  • Awareness and education sessions in sun risks.
  • Free distribution of sun creams and hats.

Partners:

SOBUDEC
ABIPA
Yalgado Ouédraogo University Hospital
Standing Voice
Burkina Faso Ministry of Health

 

ACHIEVEMENTS AND PERSPECTIVES

Perspectives

180
people with albinism targeted over two years

27
dermatologists trained in the treatment of skin problems and malignant tumour surgery

10
GPs and 10 nurses trained in screening for skin disease

 

At the end of the pilot phase, the aim is to extend these actions to three other regions of Burkina Faso (the Hauts-Bassin, Centre and Cascades regions).

PARTNERS

  • ABIPA

ABIPA (the Burkinabé Association for the Integration of Albino People) operates nationally, with representatives very active in the various regions of the country. Since 2000, the association has three regional offices in the Central Eastern, Hauts Bassins and Cascades regions (see map below). The association operates in regions where numerous people with albinism have been identified (high frequency of consanguineous marriages).
Founded in 1999, the association, whose purpose is to fight against all forms of discrimination, exclusion and marginalisation of people with albinism, has between 600 and 650 members (people with albinism). No resources are allocated to ABIPA, apart from occasional government subsidies. ABIPA appears to be the only association of this scale in Burkina to be combating discrimination against people with albinism.
As part of the project, ABIPA will be responsible for community mobilisation of people with albinism, awareness raising and the production and distribution of sun creams.

  • SOBUDEC

SOBUDEC (the Burkinabé Society of Dermatology, Aesthetics and Cosmetology) is a learned society with 37 members whose mission is to promote dermatology, cosmetology and aesthetics in Burkina Faso.

Travelling consultations to raise awareness and screen for skin lesions among people with albinism in rural areas around Ouagadougou were carried out by a group of SOBUDEC dermatologists, with support from ABIPA.

SOBUDEC will lead this project and be responsible for the coordination, implementation of activities, development of training tools as well as the project’s technical and financial management.

  • Yalgado Ouédraogo University Hospital

Created in 1957, the hospital contains the dermatology department set up in 1991. The team currently comprises five dermatologists, including two professors, supported by a team of 13 nurses. The department has four offices/consultation rooms and 14 hospital beds. Every Thursday, a special consultation is held for people with albinism, generally led by Dr Tapsoba.

Under the project submitted, patients with severe lesions are referred to the Yalgado Ouedraogo University Hospital for surgical treatment by a cancer surgeon.

  • Ministry of Health and healthcare structures of the Central Eastern region

The Ministry of Health will be a stakeholder in the project, co-signatory of the agreement and will participate in the programme’s steering group.

  • Standing Voice :

Standing Voice is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) based in Tanzania, with its head office in the UK. Its mission is to end human rights abuses perpetrated against marginalised groups around the world. Standing Voice is currently combating the social exclusion of people with albinism in Tanzania and throughout East Africa. The NGO carries out health, education, advocacy and community programmes providing structured and regular support to thousands of people with albinism in Tanzania. The Standing Voice team works with local stakeholders to create bespoke programmes. Standing Voice’s skin cancer prevention programme offers a network of prevention and treatment clinics for thousands of people with albinism. More than 3,250 people with albinism access these services every six months, at 45 sites in 10 regions of Tanzania. The skin cancer prevention programme is a model project, designed to be replicated and extended across sub-Saharan Africa.

Standing Voice was involved in the design of this project.

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