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Health News of Friday, 2 March 2018

Source: ghananewsagency.org

Afrikids launches programme to eradicate spirit child beliefs

Afrikids Ghana, a child right Non-Governmental Organisation, has launched the phase two of activities geared towards ending the alleged spirit child killings in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region.

Children born with deformities are considered spirits or outcast and unfit to live among members of society. These children according to local beliefs would in their lifetime bring misfortunes to the family if they are left to survive. The children are, therefore, killed to rid the society of misfortunes.

Mr Raymond Akolbire Ayinne, External Affairs Manager of Afrikids Ghana, said it was against this backdrop that the NGO in connection with some stakeholders and opinion leaders after years of sensitization at Sirigu in the Kassena-Nankana West District declared an end to the practice in 2013.

However, Mr Ayinne said “some aspects of the practice were still occurring in communities in the Bongo District and this triggered the Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, Naba Baba Salifu Lemyaarum to call for swift intervention”.

At a ceremony at Zorkor to kick start phase two of activities to end the practice, Mr Ayinne expressed regret at the occurrence of the incidence adding that children with special needs had rights just as any able person.

He said as part of measures to halt the concern, Afrikids Ghana envisages sensitizing community members while creating awareness on the rights of children in all communities in the Bongo District.

The External Affairs Manager said the soothsayers and the concoction men are known to be spearheading the practice of killing the supposed spirit children and therefore the three-year project “shall mobilize and provide livelihood support to the soothsayers and the concoction men to empower them to become agents to help stop the practice”.

He said, “apart from the education, we are going to provide them with evidence of children with disabilities that are thriving in communities where the practice does not exist then they will come to the realization that indeed all children have rights to life”.

Naba John Baptist Asoobono, the chief of Kanga, a community at Zorkor, commended Afrikids for its efforts to end the spirit child concern in the region.

On the behalf of chiefs in the Zorkor area, he pledged to contribute their quota to end the practice.

“Our community may be guilty of killing children with disabilities and Afrikids presence today will change our behavior and perception towards such children,” he said.

Madam Patience Dambaji, the Bongo District Health Promotions Officer, urged women to attend antenatal and postnatal care at health centres to avert any unforeseen childbirth deformities in their babies.

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