Multiple planetary challenges face humanity, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and biodiversity loss, which intimately affect the health of people and the planet Climate change is considered the greatest health threat of the 21st century. People living with disability, poverty, and unemployment are further structurally and disproportionately impacted by the projected devastating effects of climate change. Such vulnerable populations include Persons with Albinism (PWA) whose health and well-being are impacted by the rising temperatures and increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The focus of our paper is to describe the urgency for addressing the health challenges for PWA impacted by the climate change crisis as a global human rights issue. We speak based on our 5-year transdisciplinary research-advocacy-policy partnership addressing albinism and human rights.
During the past five years, we have worked closely with an international partnership (Tanzania, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, United Kingdom, and Canada) to prioritize the research agenda on albinism, spiritual, and cultural beliefs and practices, and human rights. This partnership is transdisciplinary (nursing, medicine, psychology, philosophy, sociology, political studies, religious studies, history, and legal studies) and intersectoral (academics, medical personnel, civil society actors, and government representatives) which enriched our mutual ability to prioritize concerns for the health and wellbeing of PWA. This work permits us to explore contextual solutions for addressing the complexity of climate change. The higher incidence of albinism in the African context amplifies the vulnerability of PWA to the effects of climate change and highlights the need for further studies. With our current research-advocacy-policy partnership, we recommend the inclusion and engagement of PWA in the development of strategies to mitigate the health impact of climate change. Framing climate change as a human rights issue for PWA as a constituency of persons with disabilities, and through transdisciplinary partnership could raise awareness and prompt action so PWA are not put at increased risk of being left further behind as the attention paid to the impact of climate change increases.
Astle, B., Buyco, M., Ero, I. & Reimer-Kirkham, S. (2022). Global impact of climate change on persons with albinism: A human rights issue. Journal of Climate Change and Health, 9(100190). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joclim.2022.100190