It appears that these days, everyone in Uganda is light skinned- even those whose mothers and fathers are as dark as charcoal.
Bleaching- a practice that had once been seen as something practiced only by the ignorant and the illiterate, is now a fairly common phenomenon involving both men and women; and many of them highly placed in society including minsters, politicians, screen stars and bank executives, among others.
It’s perhaps against this background that President Museveni on Saturday urged women to stop bleaching their skin saying it was dangerous and harmful to their health.
“To the women, please stop bleaching your skin. Let your skin colour remain as it was created by God. Bleaching will cause you a lot of trouble,” he said while ppresiding over the pass-out of 1,023 graduates from different districts trained in herbal medicine practice by the Uganda North American Youth Development Association in Lubaga-Mutundwe, Kampala.
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Mr Museveni further noted that Ugandans should have self-confidence to understand the laws of nature and utilise them to help others.
“Science is not witchcraft; the trees used in herbal medicine were made by God. Our job is to establish dominion over nature as the first chapter of Genesis says,” Mr Museveni added.
Some time ago, Daily Monitor, a sister publication of Sqoop revealed how some unscrupulous traders were making a kill through selling wrong bleaching agents to unsuspecting Ugandans.
According to the story, some of the drugs meant to be strictly sold by hospitals and licensed clinics for the treatment of skin diseases, are now being promoted by traders as cosmetics that can lighten dark skin.
For instance, creams such as Diproson and Betasol can now be found in local shops in the country.
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When consulted, doctors said and other specialists said the creams are “only supposed to be used under prescription of a doctor for the right quantity and duration for it to be applied”.
Apparently, such creams were used to bleach leather material.
However, abuse of these drugs can cause the skin to crack, exposing one to several skin disease and even cancer.
In Uganda, we have seen several people, not only women, bleaching their skin in a bid to look good in public.
Although not qualified to give prescriptions, shopkeepers go ahead to give instructions on how to use the creams, well aware of their bleaching aspect.