Afrikids Ghana, a Child Rights Non- Government Organization (NGO) has intensified efforts and community engagements at ending the ‘Spirit Child Phenomenon’ in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region.
Children born with various forms of disability in some parts of the Upper East Region are being labelled ‘spirit children’ and sometimes killed through dubious means by herbalists or juju men.
These deformed children are often denied basic rights such as the right to life, education, food and fair justice among others that every human being is entitled to enjoy.
As a result of the practice and its negative effects on human dignity, Afrikids Ghana is implementing a three year sensitization project in 36 communities in the Bongo District and four communities in the Bolgatanga Municipal, to change people’s attitudes towards such children.
The project, aimed at eradicating the abuse of children born with various forms of deformities, is being funded by the Medicor Foundation, an NGO from the United Kingdom.
At a community durbar organized to educate and sensitize the chiefs and people in Bongo, the District capital, Mr David Pwalua, the Director of Programmes at Afrikids, said the practice was a violation of the fundamental human rights of children.
He said a research done prior to the implementation of the project, showed that cases of child abuse and neglect was high and more than 60 per cent of the respondents confirmed that they would deny their children born with deformities, education, food, and healthcare among others.
This, he attributed, to lack of knowledge and information and said the project would rescue the children and give them better life to realize their dreams in future.
The Director of Programmes explained that the Bongo District alone had over 4,000 children living with all forms of disabilities and called on members of the public to send such children to Afrikids and not abuse them.
He urged the people to report incidence of the murder of children born with deformities to the Police.
Mrs Christiana Azagsa, a Midwife at the Anafobiisi Health Centre, speaking on behalf of Ms Rosemond Azure, the Bongo District Director of the Ghana Health Service, said some deformities were caused by lack of healthcare, lack of good food, and none adherence to the taking of drugs as prescribed by health professionals, that could cause health complications during pregnancy and affect the unborn child.
Mr Justus Triumph Atayaaba, Investigator at the Bongo District Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), called on the people to stop abusing children as acts were punishable by law.
Pognaba Christiana Nge, the Paramount Queen Mother of the Bongo Traditional Council, who thanked Afrikids for the enlightenment, said the act was immoral and was not acceptable by God.
She therefore called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to eliminate the menace and give deformed children the necessary care and love they deserved.