Term Year

2018

Country Of Origin

Nigeria

Biography

Anita Oghenekome Benson has nine years experience as a medical doctor and currently works as a senior dermatology resident in the public sector. Skin lightening is a problem in her community, as women are encouraged to bleach their skin to fit within society’s ideals. She has personally been a victim of the prejudice associated with darker skin tones. 77% of Nigerians have been reported to engage in skin lightening practices, and most are unaware that these practices can predispose them to serious health conditions. Anita is changing public perception about dark skin while offering health education on the adverse effects of skin lightening and free dermatological services to those affected. She has been able to reach hundreds of people from various socioeconomic and educational backgrounds, raising awareness and halting the use of skin lightening agents. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to encourage a bill that places restrictions on the over-the-counter sale of harmful skin lightening agents through advocacy and media campaigns. She also hopes to set up a skin rehabilitation clinic.