Malawi has stepped up efforts to protect albino’s by distributing personal security alarm devices which it hopes will thwart any threats to the lives of those with the genetic disorder.
Authorities in the country hope the devices can help bring an end to the albino fatalities in the country, which have been fueled by superstitions.
The number of reported crimes against people with albinism in Malawi has risen to over 163 cases, including 22 murders since November 2014, according to Amnesty International.
“As [the] government, we are trying to create [a] conducive environment for the persons with albinism, that’s why we are distributing security gadgets for them to be protected and for them to be safe in their communities,” said Mary Navicha, Malawi’s minister for gender and disability.
The alarm sound is activated when the wearer pulls a safety pin when faced with danger. The alarm sound can be heard within a range of about 100 meters.
Police and local leaders have also embarked on a sensitization drive to educate people on the need to act whenever the albino alarm sound is heard.
For years, albinos in Malawi and other parts of Africa have been hunted down for their body parts, which some people believe have magical powers.
In March 2019, President Peter Mutharika appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the spate of attacks on people with albinism after public outcry over increasing attacks.
Amnesty International reports the current population of people with albinism in Malawi to be estimated at between 7,000 and 10,000, representing a ratio of 1 in every 1,800 persons.