- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

Attitudes Towards Albinism in Ghana

Page 1 of 9


The world health organization documents that the prevalence rate of albinism with its related stereotypic issues are high in African with 1 to 5000 to 1 in 15000 people in sub-Saharan African being affected as compared to 1 to 20,000 people.

 Newman (2009) suggests that, albinism is an inherited disease characterized by a substantially lower rate of melanin production. Melanin is the pigment responsible for the color of the skin, hair, and eyes. In general, but not always, people with albinism have lighter colored skin and hair than the other members of their family or ethnic group. According to Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, it is a hereditary disorder, usually transmitted as an autosomal recessive trait, in which there is partial or total absence of pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes (oculocutaneous albinism) or in the eyes alone (ocular albinism), caused by defective or absent function of the enzyme tyrosinase. With autosomal recessive inheritance, an individual must receive faulty copies of a gene from the mother and father to develop albinism. X-linked recessive conditions predominantly affect males. This is because females carry two X chromosomes, if one gene damaged, the other can often make up the shortfall. Females can still carry and pass on the gene. Men, however, have one X and one Y chromosome, so any albino mutations in their singular X chromosome will generate the condition. If the mother has an X-linked mutation, each daughter will have a 1 in 2 chance of becoming a carrier and each son will have a 1 in 2 chance of developing albinism. Albinism is genetic, there are no cures; treatment involves minimizing symptoms. The word Albino means a white person. It is derived from the Latin word “albus” meaning “white” according to Maia and   Rujula (2015). Since the 17th century the word Albino has been used to describe living creatures with Albinism, having little or no color in the skin, eyes and hair according to Kimaya (2009). There are 10 types of the most condition. Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) is a type of albinism caused by a mutation in 1 of 4 genes; OCA is further split into seven types depending on the mutations. These subdivisions include: OCA type 1: individuals tend to have milky skin, white hair, and blue eyes. With age, some individuals' skin and hair may darken. Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) type 1 (OCA1) reaches approximately 1 in 40,000 individuals, in the majority of populations according to Santos and Rujula (2015). OCA type 2: similar to type 1 and occurs most often in sub-Saharan Africans, African-Americans, and Native Americans. OCA type 3: occurs mostly in black South Africans. OCA type 4: occurs most often in East Asian populations. In most severe form, hair and skin remain pure white throughout life. According Gronskov and Brondum-Nielsen, people with OCA have normal longevity, fertility and development. X-linked ocular albinism is a type of albinism caused by a gene mutation of the X chromosome, X-linked ocular albinism occurs predominantly in males. Vision problems are present, but eye, hair, and skin color is generally in the normal range. Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome is a type albinism which is most common in Puerto Rico. The symptoms are similar to oculocutaneous albinism but patients are more likely to develop bowel, heart, kidney, and lung diseases or bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia. Chediak-Higashi syndrome is a rare form of albinism, caused by a mutation in the CHS1/LYST genes. Symptoms are similar to oculocutaneous albinism but hair can appear silvery and skin can look slightly gray. These individuals also have defects in their white blood cells, making infections more common.

 This study will reveal that one’s level of education shall influence the beliefs and attitudes towards albinism.                        

This study is to examine whether knowledge on albinism will comparatively increase understanding on the condition which are lacking among people with low level of education (below secondary school education).

The objective of this study


The objective of the study is:

  • To create the awareness about albinism as health condition
  • To help modify negative attitudes towards albinism


The relevance of the study is to know people’s perception about albinism

Another relevance is to educate people about albinism


Welsing (1970), posits that humans evolved as blacks in Africa and that whites are albinos or better put, mutants. Indigenous Africans ignorant of the cause of albinism and how to cure it quarantined and abandoned albinos and as well offered them as sacrifice to their nature gods. They perhaps thought it was infectious and felt instead of risking infection to the entire community, it was better to quarantine or even surrender albinos to the gods. The quarantined mutants were forced out of Africa to other part of the world. White people are genetically defective descendants of these albino mutants forced out of Africa to other part of the world. This theory helps explore the roots of the stigma and the stereotype associated with albinism in most African communities.

Download as (for upgraded members)
Citation Generator

(2017, 04). Attitudes Towards Albinism in Ghana. Retrieved 04, 2017, from

"Attitudes Towards Albinism in Ghana" 04 2017. 2017. 04 2017 <>.

"Attitudes Towards Albinism in Ghana.", 04 2017. Web. 04 2017. <>.

"Attitudes Towards Albinism in Ghana." 04, 2017. Accessed 04, 2017.