ILDS and Stiefel Announce Global Initiative to Help Prevent Deadly Skin Cancer Among Albinos in Tanzania

By Stiefel, PRNE
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

SEOUL, Korea and RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, North Carolina, May 25, 2011 -

- Public urged to join global campaign 'Hats On For Skin Health' to help
this underserved population take better control of their skin health

The International League of Dermatological Societies (ILDS) and Stiefel,
a GSK company, today announced the launch of Hats On For Skin Health, a
global initiative on sun protection for albinos in sub-Saharan Africa. The
program aims to raise funds to purchase hats and other sun-protective items
for albinos living in Tanzania, a country with one of the highest rates of
albinism in the world. Presently, Tanzania is home to tens of thousands of
albinos, and unless measures are taken to protect their skin from the sun's
rays, there is a high likelihood that they will develop skin cancer at a very
early age. This skin cancer is often fatal by age 40.(1)

The campaign is being announced this week at the 22nd World Congress of
Dermatology in Seoul, Korea to encourage participation and donations from
around the world. Donations received will help ILDS purchase hats or other
sun-protective items that will be distributed by the Regional Dermatology
Training Center (RDTC) in Moshi, Tanzania, an ILDS program that manages an
albino project including a mobile skin care clinic, which regularly visits
villages in the region. By checking skin to spot skin cancers early and
instructing about proper sun protection, the staff of the mobile clinic
strives to positively impact the lives of people with albinism in Tanzania.

"Because of the significant stigma affecting people with albinism in this
region, many lead marginalized and impoverished lives in addition to facing
severe skin health risks due to their condition," said David McLean, M.D.,
Secretary-General of the International League of Dermatological Societies.
"With Hats On For Skin Health, Stiefel will enhance ILDS' efforts by helping
to provide much needed hats to albinos in Tanzania as we seek to expand our
monitoring of albino skin health and patient education programs."

Albinism is the genetic inability to produce the pigment melanin in the
skin, hair and eyes, resulting in pale skin, light hair, pinkish eyes and
impaired vision. Melanin serves as the skin's own natural protection against
the sun's ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Without melanin, a person is
predisposed to various types of solar skin damage, including aggressive forms
of skin cancers.(1) In Tanzania, 100 percent of albinos show signs of sun
damage to their skin within the first ten years of life and between the ages
of 20-30 years, half will have advanced skin cancers. As a result, less than
2 percent of albino children in Tanzania reach their 40th birthday. Although,
recent studies have shown this lifespan can be extended when measures are
taken to protect skin from the sun.(1)

Worldwide, albinism affects about one in 20,000 people. However, the
incidence of albinism in sub-Saharan Africa is significantly higher than in
the rest of the world, and Tanzania has one of the highest rates of all with
an incidence of one in 1,429, or approximately 30,000 people.(1) There are
many precautionary steps that can be taken to help prevent skin cancer,
including health education about sun avoidance, sun protection through use of
sun blocks and skin coverage provided by clothing such as hats and long

"We recognize the significant difficulties faced by Tanzanian albinos in
their daily lives and are proud to announce this initiative with ILDS to
provide sun-protective items that are desperately needed to help prevent skin
cancer," said Bill Humphries, President, Dermatology, Stiefel. "By announcing
our Hats On For Skin Health program at the World Congress of Dermatology, we
hope to inspire others, especially the worldwide Dermatology community, to
join our efforts to help albinos in Tanzania better protect their skin. As a
global leader in skin health, Stiefel is committed to improving the quality
of life for those affected by skin conditions around the world."

ILDS and Stiefel started working together in 2007, when Stiefel financed
construction of the first dermatology hospital ward at the RDTC at the
Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center in Moshi.

To learn more about the campaign or to make a donation that will be used
to purchase hats or other sun-protective items for albinos in Tanzania, visit and follow on Facebook
( and Twitter

About The International League of Dermatological Societies

The International League of Dermatological Societies (ILDS) is a
non-governmental organization that is composed of all of the major
international and national Dermatology societies of the world, and has
official relations with the World Health Organization. ILDS was formed to:
stimulate the cooperation of societies of Dermatology and societies
interested in all fields of cutaneous medicine and biology throughout the
world; encourage the worldwide advancement of Dermatological education, care,
and sciences; promote personal and professional relations among the
Dermatologists of the world; represent Dermatology in commissions and
international health organizations; and organize a World Congress of
Dermatology every four years. The International Foundation for Dermatology
(IFD) was established by the ILDS to provide a growing program to improve the
care of skin disease in underserved areas of the developing world. IFD
successfully built the Regional Dermatology Training Center in Moshi,
Tanzania, which trains leaders among allied health workers and doctors from
the surrounding regions.

About Stiefel, a GSK company

Stiefel, a GSK company, is committed to advancing Dermatology and skin
science around the world in order to help people better achieve healthier
skin. Stiefel's dedication to innovation, along with its focus on
pharmaceutical, over-the-counter and aesthetic Dermatology products, has
established Stiefel as a world leader in the skin health industry. To learn
more about Stiefel, visit


1. Cruz-Inigo, Andres. Albinism in Africa: Stigma, Slaughter and
Awareness Campaigns. Dermatol Clin. 2011; 29: 79-87

Amy Campbell, Stiefel, a GSK Company, +1-423-432-8915 mobile, +1-919-315-7021 office, amy.b.campbell at; Kim Angelastro, Cohn & Wolfe, +1-212-798-9740 office, +1-917-476-6450 mobile, kim.angelastro at

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