Uganda: Student With Albinism Beats Odds to Graduate at Makerere

Kampala — He faced many challenges, was mocked and despised in his early childhood but he stayed focused on achieving his dream as he scaled the hurdles and carried home the crown of academic excellence among proud medical students that graduated at Makerere University on Wednesday.

Isaac Kyazze, now an intern doctor at Mengo Hospital in Kampala, was born to the Rev George William Kityo and Betty Kityo in 1993 with albinism, a congenital disorder.

Albinism in humans is described as a congenital disorder marked by complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. albinism is also associated with a number of vision defects, such as photophobia, nystagmus, and amblyopia.

A person with congenital albinism has white hair and milky skin and eyes that are usually pink.

“To people living with albinism, understand your purpose. I am an image of God. Let no one intimidate or torment or step on you. Don’t be stigmatised. We are normal children. We have the same brain like the other children,” Dr Kyazze said yesterday at the Freedom Square after being awarded with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree.

He is grateful to God for creating him with unique qualities that have always attracted those who despised him to associate with him.

“Some of my colleagues were supportive although there were those who tried to distance themselves. But God is faithful. I thank my teachers and parents who have always protected me. Secondary school was another hell of a challenge. People had never seen this [condition]. They were mesmerised with my appearance. Some of them were making fun of it,” Dr Kyazze recalls.

His father, the Rev Kityo, is grateful to his wife for standing with and accepting her son amid all the ill talk from the village.

“We accepted the gift God gave us amid many harsh words. We had a conviction that everything comes from God. When my wife delivered the boy, she was happy. We have stood with him in prayer and he is a blessing,” the Rev Kityo said.

A total of 4,288 graduands from the College of Business and Management Sciences, Computing and Information Sciences, Health Sciences and Veterinary Medicine graduated yesterday at Makerere’s 68th graduation ceremony. They are among 14,085 who will have been conferred upon Bachelor and Master degrees and PhDs at the end of this week.

“You are going out to the world which expects a lot from you. We have trained you to be critical thinkers… there is no reason for not succeeding,” Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the vice chancellor, told the graduands on Wednesday.

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