Government officials and police are currently patrolling markets in provinces across the nation and seizing skin-lightening and bleaching products from vendors
While many countries continue to launch campaigns creating awareness about the dangers of bleaching, the Rwandan government has taken the bold step to ban all skin-whitening and bleaching products in the country.
This is coming shortly after the president, Paul Kagame out-rightly condemned the the use of the products in November, urging Rwanda’s ministry of health to take action.
In response to a Twitter user who voiced concern over the issue, he was quoted saying: “Quite unhealthy among other things. Includes use of prohibited chemicals,” adding that the ministry of health look into it urgently.
A while ago, the country had launched a campaign against the use of bleaching products, citing the health hazards as a major reason. The country’s Standards Board warned the public about the use of products that contain hydroquinone, one of the prohibited ingredients in ordinary commercial cosmetics.
According to reports, Rwandan police said they seized more than 5,000 banned bleaching products including lotions, oils, soaps and sprays from beauty shops across the country in December 2018. READ
Rwanda’s ban on bleaching products comes after Ghana implemented a ban on the skin lightening creams in 2017, following Ivory Coast’s ban in 2015. According to a 2011 report by the World Health Organization, around 25% of women in Mali, 77% of women in Nigeria, and 59% in Togo regularly use skin-lightening products.