Human rights abuses in some prayer camps – Socioserve

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The Chief Executive of Socioserve a Non-governmental organization based in Aksosombo has lamented the deplorable situation in some prayer camps in the country.

Madam Sackey was part of the team that toured prayer camps in the Eastern Region.

The tour was done by the Social Accountability Monitoring Committee (SAMC)  on behalf of the Ghana AIDS Commission in the Eastern Region to ascertain the state of people living with HIV in these camps.

During the tour, it was discovered that indeed there were people living with HIV who have been given assurance of a cure by the managers/manageress of these camps, i.e. Prophets and Prophetess

Speaking exclusively to Ghana Health News Madam Josephine Sackey didn’t miss words describing the conditions in most of the camps.

Click here to listen to the interview.

“Several things worried me, I think the biggest one was why today, we still have people who are ill-being kept in prayer camps in very unhygienic conditions. Some of the conditions were very, very,  very heartbreaking.”

Describing some of her observations, she went on to say, “you see people who are ill and they are laying on the bare floor, in the sand, with rainwater sipping under their mat.”

As to why people would allow themselves to go through such in this dispensation of time, she was blunt. “…. they are lying there because the Pastor, the Prophet, or the Bishop says that, that is where they have to be. And they are lying in the open, are suffering from mosquito bites, wind, the sun, and anything.”

BIRTH ATTENDANTS AT CAMPS

Madam Sackey recounted the situation of a Traditional Birth Attendant in a camp “The most heartbreaking is the prophetess we visited who was also a TBA and she had nearly 50 pregnant women on admission!”

Traditional Birth Attendants are not entirely new in the country. The challenge has been how they handle complications which obviously are beyond them.

Madam Sackey in a broken voice poured out her heart in concerns “…..and I was thinking if you are pregnant, what are you doing here? If you having a baby and the baby is breech, what can this woman do for you? She can’t do anything for you. If you start bleeding, what can this woman do for you? She can’t do anything for you.” She lamented.

She went on “If you get pregnancy-induced hypertension, she can’t do anything for you?”

She went on “If you get gestational diabetes, she cannot help you, but they were there, and they were under her care!”

According to Josephine Sackey, her biggest challenge was the belief on the part of the clients in these camps, they believe that they can be helped to deliver safely in such conditions.

On the issue of faith, she quizzed on why the faith on an individual should become a disadvantage.

She added her voice to the call for religious leaders to seek knowledge.

She called on the state, civil society the media, to come together “to educate our people, to empower them to know that, the fact that you believe in God doesn’t mean it should go to your disadvantage.”

According to her, prayer should not bar one from seeking medical help.

On regulations, she agreed, it is time to regulate the activities of these camps. She called on legal minds to begin to look at how this could possibly be done.

She, however, said it was daisy on how to handle the issue of churches and camps joining associations that can, in turn, regulate and oversee their work, because of freedom of association.

But she was keen on the regulation of their activities because “there are extreme human rights abuses of vulnerable people going on in these camps”

She lastly called on the ministry of gender and women to come in to see how they can join in the regulation of these camps.

As there are “sick People in heart breaking conditions in prayer camps.”

Ghana Health News

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