The year 2022 was very special for Beyond Suncare, since june marked the fifth anniversary of the beginning of our journey as a NGO. Years that have been full of challenges, learning and joys and that encourage us, even more if possible, to continue working for and with people with albinism in sub-Saharan Africa.
In the four countries where our work is focused – Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – we have cared for 3,653 people with albinism who have improved dermatological health with a decrease in precancerous lesions and an improvement in their self-confidence. We have also continued working with local healthcare personnel because their training and empowerment means a substantial improvement in the lives of people with albinism.
We have reached out, hand in hand with medical associations and local civil society organizations, to very neglected communities in countries where we had no presence, such as Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Read on and we’ll tell you all about what we did in 2022.
Our work in Malawi
In 2022 we obtained our first public funding in Spain and in Malawi, where our local office is located. In consortium with other NGOs and with the support of the European Union delegation in the country, we have launched a project that, apart from dermatological support, addresses the mental health of people with albinism with whom we work. It incorporates specialized psycho-social support with a special focus on those who have been victims of torture, kidnapping and serious violations of their rights.
According to international institutions such as FAO, 85% of the population of Malawi lives in rural areas and more than 90% of the dermatological services are in urban hospitals. For these reasons, the training of health professionals in rural areas is very important.
In 2022 we consolidated our work in the 9 districts we were in and expanded to two new ones: Balaka and Mchinji. Together with the Malawi Ministry of Health, the Dermatology Department of Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe and the Malawi Association of People with Albinism, we trained 144 health professionals.
We identified pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions in 50 patients and they had to be referred to central hospitals. One of our objectives for 2023 has been to strengthen the referral system and skin cancer management at regional and local levels.
We have also strengthened community awareness and sensitization actions, starting to work with community theater groups, creating a play for the understanding of albinism. Around 3,500 people attended performances in 6 districts of the country.
- We served 2,314 people with albinism who receive regular dermatological support.
- Beyond Suncare distributed UMOZI MAX sunscreen cream in 22 of the country’s 29 districts.
- A total of 209 clinics were conducted in rural and semi-urban areas.
- More than 50% of people with albinism treated were women and 58% of people with albinism were minors.
- 144 healthcare professionals were trained and empowered to manage the clinics.
- 41 people with skin cancer treated.
- 98% of people with albinism we serve recommend the program and sunscreen.
We take stock of these five years and are very pleased with what we have achieved. We still have many challenges ahead but we will continue to support people with albinism in sub-Saharan Africa to improve their health and well-being.
Our work in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo
In Uganda, we work together with the local NGO Source of the Nile Union for Persons with Albinism (SNUPA) and the civil society organization Albinism Umbrella.
Together with SNUPA we work in the Bugisu sub-region with the aim of reducing the incidence of skin cancer among people with albinism in this remote and neglected area of the country. We have already educated and trained 80 health professionals on albinism and skin cancer prevention, and have cared for almost 300 people with albinism, 61% of whom are minors.
Since 2020 we work together with the local NGO Health Alert Organization (HAO), composed of volunteer health workers who support vulnerable groups. During 2022 we reached 7 of the 30 districts in the country focusing our objective on training nurses in 3 of the 7 districts.
In Rwanda there is no national plan to support people with albinism in the country, so our work becomes even more relevant. During 2022 we cared for 495 people with albinism, 53% of whom are minors, and trained 48 nurses in the areas where we work.
Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), although it does not have reliable statistics, has a high number of persons with albinism according to clinical observations and scientific publications in this country. It is estimated that there are more than 18,000 people with albinism established in the 24 provinces of the DRC.
In the country we work together with CORBETTA DRC, a health NGO with a national scope of action. Throughout the DRC, access to sunscreen is very limited, not only because of the scarcity of these precious products in the country, but above all because of the very exorbitant sale price for a population that is mostly impoverished. For this reason, we provide support by sending our sunscreen creams and by supporting people with albinism to learn more about their condition.
During 2022, we cared for 550 people with albinism, 3 nurses were trained and 37 people received surgeries.
Other accomplishments we achieved:
Esperanza Pertusa Foundation recognized Mafalda Soto, co-founder of Beyond Suncare, as a protagonist of its Women4Change Transformational Leadership Program.
- UMOA: NATURAL COSMETICS WITH PURPOSE
A social initiative of natural cosmetics, promoted by Beyond Suncare’s founding team, which donates 10% of its profits to the organization.
We highlight the agreement with the Croda Foundation, our main supporter in Uganda, and ROVI Laboratories with their support for our work in Malawi. We also updated our collaboration with RNB, a leading Spanish cosmetics company that supports us in technical assistance and the manufacture of customized photoprotectors.
We were awarded the Prize for international cooperation projects in developing countries by the Pediatrics and Health Foundation of the AEPap and the Grant for International Cooperation Projects for Development in the Health Field by the Spanish Pediatrics Foundation. We also received the Solidarity Fund Award from the Spanish Albinism Association (ALBA).
The year 2022 we achieved:
Our work has a big impact on your lives and the lives of your families. We are a small NGO; a drop in an ocean, but it is our drop, your drop, the drop that is changing thousands of lives and that is more than a reason to keep fighting and working for our purpose.
Thank you very much for joining us on this journey.