Twelve months caring for people with albinism in 4 African countries
An intense and exciting 2019 is coming to an end. A year in which, together with great collaborators, we have built and consolidated projects aimed at improving the lives of one of the most vulnerable groups on the planet: people with albinism in Africa. A year of internal reflection, starting new plans and optimizing the strategy for the coming year, which looks promising.
2019 has consolidated our comprehensive model of services that seeks to respond to the biggest challenges and needs of people with albinism in Africa.
We would like to highlight the launch of our new sun cream with greater effectiveness and cosmetic elegance, called “UMOZI MAX”.
“UMOZI (“UNITY” in chichewa) MAX” has been developed with the support of BASF laboratory as a result of 3 years of R+D+I work. It is a product that balances quality, safety and sustainability. With SPF 50+, high water resistance and high UVB/UVA coverage, its formula incorporates an innovative technology that integrates safe and sustainable ingredients with the environment. “UMOZI MAX” is adapted to the taste and preferences of users. In addition, it is easy to manufacture as our goal is sustainability through local production.
Throughout 2019 we conducted a research study and hand in hand with the Albinism Association of Malawi and the dermatology service of the reference hospital of Lilongwe (Malawi). The aim was to demonstrate to the government, institutions and local partners the cost-effectiveness of our programme. The results have been very positive: in only 4 months, a significant reduction in sun damage, an improvement in sun protection habits, great acceptance of UMOZI MAX and a very positive psycho-social impact, as practically all the beneficiaries declare a better integration in the community.
We are preparing to launch a large-scale programme in Malawi, one of the African countries where people with albinism face greater persecution and discrimination.
We have handed over the management of the Tanzania production unit to the local staff belonging to the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, where it is located. In this way, it already operates autonomously and sustainably with occasional support.
On the other hand, we have started to work with local actors in Rwanda, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In these countries, we have partnered with different non-governmental organizations to join forces and go further. Behind these programmes there has been careful work of adapting education materials, services and products to local languages, contexts and cultures.
We have worked with local institutions and governments because, although our approach is not vertical (from top to bottom), we believe that it is essential to do advocacy, removing the consciences of those who govern and thus achieve structural changes and lasting solutions.
In Spain we have raised awareness and participated in different forums and events such as the Congreso Nacional de Cooperación Médica or the #TEDxXardindoPosío. We have also shared our history and our work in various media (“Pienso, luego actúo”, “El País”, etc.).
We have contributed to change the future of more than 3500 people with albinism in 4 countries, of which more than half are children.
Beyond Suncare’s services have reduced precancerous lesions by 70%. More than 95% of users confirm that their self-confidence and integration into the community have improved as part of the program.
In 2020 we will launch a large-scale programme in Malawi and start a new project in Mozambique.
We look back with self-criticism, but full of enthusiasm. We feel a deep gratitude to Foundations like Africa Directo and Open Value Foundation that have made all this possible. What can we say about BASF, which has been by our side since the beginning, showing its unconditional support, and about Dietestetic, with whom we have been able to count on in every step we have taken.
Thanks to our partners and volunteers, who selflessly manage to improve the lives of so many people.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!