Beliefs about people with albinism in Uganda: a qualitative study using the Common-Sense Model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Source of the Nile Union for Persons with Albinism (SNUPA)
  • Advantage Africa
  • Coventry University


Albinism includes a group of inherited conditions that result in reduced melanin production. It has been documented across the world, with a high frequency in sub-Saharan Africa. There is very little published research about the lives of people with albinism, but available evidence shows that myths abound regarding their condition. They are feared, viewed with suspicion and believed to have supernatural powers. In this study we explored the links between beliefs, myths, traditions and positive/negative attitudes that surround people with albinism in Uganda. The study was located philosophically within Ubuntu - an Afrocentric worldview - and theoretically within the Common-Sense Model of self-regulation of health and illness that originates from the work of Leventhal in 2003. This qualitative study took place in eight districts of Busoga sub-region, Uganda between 2015 and 2017. Data collection comprised eight group discussions and 17 individual interviews with a range of informants, capturing the viewpoints of 73 participants. Findings lend support to previous research, highlighting the life-time discrimination and disadvantage experienced by many people with albinism. It shows that there is still much to be done to address the pervasive and potentially harmful beliefs and misconceptions about people with albinism.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0205774
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2018