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Monday, December 5, 2022

Sunscreen for people living with albinism

By Anotidaishe Chivhenge

People with albinism have pale skin due to a pigment disorder that barely protects the skin from the sun’s radiation. In Zimbabwe, this is an acute problem.

The Noble Hands Zimbabwe Trust in conjunction with the National University of Science and Technology is working to produce the redemptive lotion locally.

The cost of imported sunscreen is $USD 22 per tube and those currently produced locally which still need more work put into them cost around $US7-$9. The costs is now becoming prohibitive because even the lip balm which is needed costs $4 and those living with albinism now find themselves going without some of the products due to escalating prices.

Noble Hands Zimbabwe Trust founder and Executive Director Willard Musiyarira

Noble Hands Zimbabwe Trust founder and Executive Director Willard Musiyarira told The Sun that, the drive for producing sunscreen lotions locally was motivated by the high prices of importation which also made prices fluctuate from USD $15 to 22 a tube and was not reasonable for the local community.

“The drive for producing sunscreen lotions locally was motivated by the fact that during the Covid19 lockdown, Zimbabwe experienced a shortage of the lotions because the borders were closed and this drove the prices up from USD $15 to $22 a tube, which made it impossible for many to afford the sunscreen lotions,” said Mr Musiyarira.

The non -profit making Organization made contact with other groups to rectify the sunscreen lotions production over the last few months but it all came to no avail, hence resulting in the conjunction with NUST to produce the sun lotion sample

“We tried to approach Datlabs about possible production of the lotions and creams for the community they said it was not possible given the cost-benefit analysis they will be running a loss if they produce them.

“We then approached Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Minister, National University of Science and Technology Innovation Hub who took the idea and as we speak, they have developed a concept, they are only waiting for funding in that regard,” said Mr Musiyarira.

This product is expected to be fully approved and developed by the end of the year, talking at the World Albinism Awareness Day commemorated at Gweru Theatre last week he highlighted that if all goes well December is the launching month for the product

“If all goes well, we expect to have the product fully developed by end of December because the concept is to produce a high-end product in which they are incorporating indigenous ingredients with skin healing properties as a way of improving the quality of the product, in the scope of preventing skin cancer too,” he said.

“The sunscreen lotion that we intend to produce is a different one which is composed of locally indigenous raw materials which are known to have healing properties that would be a plus to the users.
“Moreso the cost of the product will likely be lower to the end user as we are already lobbying for the Government of Zimbabwe to place subsidies on the product once it’s available, such that the end user only pays 10% of the total cost of the product and in time they ultimately get the lotions at government cost,” said Mr Musiyarira.

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