Lack of adequate sun protection for children with oculocutaneous albinism in South Africa

Patricia M. Lund, Julie S. Taylor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    18 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background: Childhood is a high risk time for ultraviolet induced skin damage as this age group has more time and opportunity to be outdoors in the sun. Children in Africa with the inherited condition oculocutaneous albinism ( OCA) are especially vulnerable due to their lack of protective melanin. They are highly susceptible to developing skin lesions that have both cosmetic and health complications, with a high risk of developing skin cancers. The study aimed to explore the adequacy of sun protection strategies of children with albinism in order to inform future provision.

    Methods: Community based participatory research methods were employed to investigate sun protection strategies in 90 pupils with OCA ( 40 female and 50 male) boarding at a special school educating pupils with visual impairment in a rural area of northern South Africa. Hats worn and sunscreen preparations used were examined during semi-structured face to face interviews conducted in small peer groups. The resident nurse interpreted if necessary and provided additional information on monitoring and treatment of skin lesions.

    Results: Participants with albinism in this study were exposed to high levels of ultraviolet radiation throughout the year and showed skin damage despite wearing protective head gear. All except one pupil possessed at least one hat, with a mean brim width of 5.4 cm. Gender differences in sun avoidance behaviour were documented, with females seeking shade during recreational periods and males playing soccer outside. Although 38% of pupils were using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) rating, only 12% had government sponsored tubes of SPF15 cream. Government sponsored sunscreen preparations were only provided if actively sought, involving time consuming trips to regional hospitals, with inadequate availability and insufficient supply.

    Conclusion: Children with albinism living away from home in rural areas appear to have inadequate sun protection strategies. Changes in health policy could address these deficiencies. We recommend providing more detailed health care information, giving advice on appropriate styles of hat to wear and how to assess commercial SPF products. Health promotional material should also be evaluated to determine its effectiveness among user groups.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number225
    Pages (from-to)-
    Number of pages1
    JournalBMC Public Health
    Volume8
    Issue number225
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

    Fingerprint

    Oculocutaneous Albinism
    Solar System
    South Africa
    Albinism
    Pupil
    Sunscreening Agents
    Sun Protection Factor
    Skin
    Community-Based Participatory Research
    Avoidance Learning
    Peer Group
    Northern Africa
    Soccer
    Vision Disorders
    Melanins
    Health
    Skin Neoplasms
    Health Policy
    Cosmetics
    Age Groups

    Keywords

    • Albinism
    • Skin care
    • Sun
    • Children
    • Sun protection
    • South Africa

    Cite this

    Lund, Patricia M. ; Taylor, Julie S. / Lack of adequate sun protection for children with oculocutaneous albinism in South Africa. In: BMC Public Health. 2008 ; Vol. 8, No. 225. pp. -.
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    title = "Lack of adequate sun protection for children with oculocutaneous albinism in South Africa",
    abstract = "Background: Childhood is a high risk time for ultraviolet induced skin damage as this age group has more time and opportunity to be outdoors in the sun. Children in Africa with the inherited condition oculocutaneous albinism ( OCA) are especially vulnerable due to their lack of protective melanin. They are highly susceptible to developing skin lesions that have both cosmetic and health complications, with a high risk of developing skin cancers. The study aimed to explore the adequacy of sun protection strategies of children with albinism in order to inform future provision.Methods: Community based participatory research methods were employed to investigate sun protection strategies in 90 pupils with OCA ( 40 female and 50 male) boarding at a special school educating pupils with visual impairment in a rural area of northern South Africa. Hats worn and sunscreen preparations used were examined during semi-structured face to face interviews conducted in small peer groups. The resident nurse interpreted if necessary and provided additional information on monitoring and treatment of skin lesions.Results: Participants with albinism in this study were exposed to high levels of ultraviolet radiation throughout the year and showed skin damage despite wearing protective head gear. All except one pupil possessed at least one hat, with a mean brim width of 5.4 cm. Gender differences in sun avoidance behaviour were documented, with females seeking shade during recreational periods and males playing soccer outside. Although 38{\%} of pupils were using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) rating, only 12{\%} had government sponsored tubes of SPF15 cream. Government sponsored sunscreen preparations were only provided if actively sought, involving time consuming trips to regional hospitals, with inadequate availability and insufficient supply.Conclusion: Children with albinism living away from home in rural areas appear to have inadequate sun protection strategies. Changes in health policy could address these deficiencies. We recommend providing more detailed health care information, giving advice on appropriate styles of hat to wear and how to assess commercial SPF products. Health promotional material should also be evaluated to determine its effectiveness among user groups.",
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    Lack of adequate sun protection for children with oculocutaneous albinism in South Africa. / Lund, Patricia M.; Taylor, Julie S.

    In: BMC Public Health, Vol. 8, No. 225, 225, 2008, p. -.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Lack of adequate sun protection for children with oculocutaneous albinism in South Africa

    AU - Lund, Patricia M.

    AU - Taylor, Julie S.

    PY - 2008

    Y1 - 2008

    N2 - Background: Childhood is a high risk time for ultraviolet induced skin damage as this age group has more time and opportunity to be outdoors in the sun. Children in Africa with the inherited condition oculocutaneous albinism ( OCA) are especially vulnerable due to their lack of protective melanin. They are highly susceptible to developing skin lesions that have both cosmetic and health complications, with a high risk of developing skin cancers. The study aimed to explore the adequacy of sun protection strategies of children with albinism in order to inform future provision.Methods: Community based participatory research methods were employed to investigate sun protection strategies in 90 pupils with OCA ( 40 female and 50 male) boarding at a special school educating pupils with visual impairment in a rural area of northern South Africa. Hats worn and sunscreen preparations used were examined during semi-structured face to face interviews conducted in small peer groups. The resident nurse interpreted if necessary and provided additional information on monitoring and treatment of skin lesions.Results: Participants with albinism in this study were exposed to high levels of ultraviolet radiation throughout the year and showed skin damage despite wearing protective head gear. All except one pupil possessed at least one hat, with a mean brim width of 5.4 cm. Gender differences in sun avoidance behaviour were documented, with females seeking shade during recreational periods and males playing soccer outside. Although 38% of pupils were using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) rating, only 12% had government sponsored tubes of SPF15 cream. Government sponsored sunscreen preparations were only provided if actively sought, involving time consuming trips to regional hospitals, with inadequate availability and insufficient supply.Conclusion: Children with albinism living away from home in rural areas appear to have inadequate sun protection strategies. Changes in health policy could address these deficiencies. We recommend providing more detailed health care information, giving advice on appropriate styles of hat to wear and how to assess commercial SPF products. Health promotional material should also be evaluated to determine its effectiveness among user groups.

    AB - Background: Childhood is a high risk time for ultraviolet induced skin damage as this age group has more time and opportunity to be outdoors in the sun. Children in Africa with the inherited condition oculocutaneous albinism ( OCA) are especially vulnerable due to their lack of protective melanin. They are highly susceptible to developing skin lesions that have both cosmetic and health complications, with a high risk of developing skin cancers. The study aimed to explore the adequacy of sun protection strategies of children with albinism in order to inform future provision.Methods: Community based participatory research methods were employed to investigate sun protection strategies in 90 pupils with OCA ( 40 female and 50 male) boarding at a special school educating pupils with visual impairment in a rural area of northern South Africa. Hats worn and sunscreen preparations used were examined during semi-structured face to face interviews conducted in small peer groups. The resident nurse interpreted if necessary and provided additional information on monitoring and treatment of skin lesions.Results: Participants with albinism in this study were exposed to high levels of ultraviolet radiation throughout the year and showed skin damage despite wearing protective head gear. All except one pupil possessed at least one hat, with a mean brim width of 5.4 cm. Gender differences in sun avoidance behaviour were documented, with females seeking shade during recreational periods and males playing soccer outside. Although 38% of pupils were using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) rating, only 12% had government sponsored tubes of SPF15 cream. Government sponsored sunscreen preparations were only provided if actively sought, involving time consuming trips to regional hospitals, with inadequate availability and insufficient supply.Conclusion: Children with albinism living away from home in rural areas appear to have inadequate sun protection strategies. Changes in health policy could address these deficiencies. We recommend providing more detailed health care information, giving advice on appropriate styles of hat to wear and how to assess commercial SPF products. Health promotional material should also be evaluated to determine its effectiveness among user groups.

    KW - Albinism

    KW - Skin care

    KW - Sun

    KW - Children

    KW - Sun protection

    KW - South Africa

    U2 - 10.1186/1471-2458-8-225

    DO - 10.1186/1471-2458-8-225

    M3 - Article

    C2 - 18590551

    VL - 8

    SP - -

    JO - BMC Public Health

    JF - BMC Public Health

    SN - 1471-2458

    IS - 225

    M1 - 225

    ER -