A health intervention programme for children with albinism at a special school in South Africa

Patricia M. Lund, Retha Gaigher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The genetic condition albinism has a high frequency among the Sotho people of northern South Africa. Affected children have pale hair, eyes and skin—a dramatic contrast to the normal dark pigmentation. Their visual performance is poor and many attend special schools for the visually impaired. Children with albinism experience problems that are, on the one hand, physiological, and, on the other, social-psychological and educational in nature. In this self-report study 38 children at a rural special school described their eye and skin problems, a direct result of their lack of pigmentation, as well as strategies they adopted to manage their condition. A further section of the study deals with the social adaptation difficulties experienced by these children. The questionnaire tested for local belief systems about albinism and how these impact on the socialization of children with albinism. The intervention strategy proposed in this study is based on the assumption that any attempt to address both the health and social problems should be of a holistic, interactionist nature, and be based on the values and belief systems of the local community. In addressing the physical problems, the proposed intervention programme focuses on sensible sun protection habits from a young age and the active participation of the children. To alleviate the social problems a team (interactionist) approach including children, teachers, parents, health officials and the wider community is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-372
JournalHealth Education Research
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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Albinism
South Africa
Health
health
school
Social Problems
Pigmentation
Northern Africa
Socialization
intervention strategy
Solar System
Hair
Self Report
socialization
Habits
community
habits
parents
Parents
Psychology

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A health intervention programme for children with albinism at a special school in South Africa. / Lund, Patricia M.; Gaigher, Retha.

In: Health Education Research, Vol. 17, No. 3, 2000, p. 365-372.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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