One hundred and thirteen women accused of possessing witchcraft domiciled at the Gnani camp in the Yendi Municipality of the Northern Region, have been medically screened and fed by multi-fund donor managers, STAR-Ghana and its partners.
The beneficiaries received drugs for diabetes, hypertension, cataract and other medical conditions associated with old age.
Those diagnosed with complicated health problems were referred to the Yendi government hospital at the expense of the supporting NGOs including ActionAid Ghana, the UNFPA and Ma Yurlim Foundation.
The exercise was under the auspices of women and children’s rights Non-Governmental Organization known as Songtaba.
The Executive Director of Songtaba, Hajia Lamnatu Adam, in an interview reiterated calls for the reintegration and restoration of the dignity of these ostracized women camped in isolated places in the Northern Region.
She condemned the continuous banishing of defenseless women in the name of witchcraft.
Hajia Lamnatu tasked the youth of communities where such cases are prevalent to rather coexist and protect the rights of women accused of witchcraft.
“I urge the youth of Northern Ghana especially those in communities where there are rampant incidents of witchcraft accusations to desist from banishing such victims from their communities but rather learn to coexist peacefully with them.”
She underscored the need for authorities of the four district assemblies where the alleged witches’ camps are located to cater for the needs of the inmates.
“The assemblies should factor into their medium-term development plans the needs of the women in order to alleviate their sufferings and hardships which include lack of food, shelter, water and clothes.”
Programme Specialist and Head of the UNFPA Tamale Office, Mammah Tenii, said the strange behaviour of some women in their menopause, has often misconstrued to be witchcraft.
He urged NGOs promoting women’s rights to sensitize residents of communities where witchcraft accusations are widespread on the bases of behavioural changes associated with menopause.
“Non-Governmental Organisations advocating the rights and safety of victims of witchcraft accusations ought to understand how menopause is largely contributing to the strange behaviour of many women thereby leading to them being accused of witchcraft by family members or communities.”
The event, which was in commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day on the them “Press for Progress; a push for gender equality worldwide,” was localized by Songtaba and its partners, and titled “Press for Progress; Let the Reintegration and Security of Alleged Witches Be Our Priority.”
There are five alleged witches’ camps dotted across remote and poor communities in the Northern Region.
These are the Gnani and Kpatinga camps in the Yendi Municipality, Kukuo in Nanumba North, Gambaga in East Mamprusi and Nabuli in the Gushegu districts.
Over 300 old women alleged to be witches are living in these camps, with the Gnani camp having the largest number of inmates.
Between 2010 and 2017, about 200 women have been liberated by the Alleged Witches Reintegration Committee.
By: Abdul Karim Naatogmah/citifmonline.com/Ghana
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