Regional News of Tuesday, 29 July 2014
The Gambaga ‘Witches’ Camp in the East Mamprusi District in the Northern Region is one of six such facilities in the region, which have been in existence for decades.
The facility serves as a refuge for hundreds of women accused of witchcraft and subsequently banished from their communities.
About 80 of such women are currently seeking refuge at the camp, together with their children and grandchildren, majority of whom are below 20 years.
The women and their children depend on proceeds from the farm of the Chief of Gambaga, Gambarana Yahaha Wuni, who is the spiritual overseer of the inmates, to fend for themselves. They also receive donations from charitable organisations and individuals for their upkeep.
The inmates lack basic necessities, including access to medical care.
To bring healthcare to the doorstep of the inmates, the Lordina Foundation and Helping Africa Foundation (HAF), a New York-based non-profit organisation, with sponsorship from Barkan Gordon International and other organisations, have offered a free medical screening for them.
HAF also presented a brand new 4x4 pickup vehicle and a laptop to the camp for its operations and administrative work.
Health professionals from the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and Legon hospital in Accra and the Tamale Teaching Hospital attended to the inmates and some residents of the Gambaga community.
The beneficiaries were screened for general diseases such as malaria, diabetes and blood pressure. They were given free medication and registered under the National Health Insurance Scheme. Some of them also had their cards renewed.
According to the coordinator of the medical team, Dr Fafa Gadzanu, the exercise was conducted to identify the medical problems of the inmates and the residents and also to treat them.
She said the beneficiaries were given a paid referral for any ailment that needed further attention, adding that the health professionals would ensure periodical check-up on the women and children at the camp.
Presenting the vehicle, the Advisor and Programme Manager of HAF, Mr Japhet Aryiku, said the exercise was to provide quality healthcare for the inmates and residents in the surrounding communities.
He said the vehicle was to support the Presbyterian Church’s ‘Go Home Project,’ which seeks to re-unite the inmates at the camp with their families and communities, and also facilitate operations at the camp.
Mr Aryiku explained that the support for the witches camp was in fulfillment of a promise made by Mr Daniel Rose, the President of the HAF, to the First Lady, Mrs Lordina Mahama, to address some challenges confronting Ghana and the African continent in general, during a working visit to Ghana.
The Programme Director of Lordina Foundation, Mr Ken Adjei, said Mrs Mahama’s commitment to provide housing and a training school for the inmates and residents was laudable.
The District Minister of the Presbyterian Church in Gambaga, Rev. Elijah Wum Naboo, who received the vehicle on behalf of the camp, expressed gratitude to the two organisations for their support.