Target: John Dramani Mahama, President of Ghana
Goal: Improve the living conditions of mentally handicapped individuals
In Ghana, people who suffer from mental disabilities face an inordinate degree of discrimination and sickening conditions. Whether a mentally impaired individual is forced to live in a care facility or lives in the community, they will ultimately face acts of prejudice and unsanitary conditions the likes of which nobody should have to endure.
Ghana has three psychiatric institutions, all of which are filthy and overcrowded. Many of the wards have broken sewage systems, and the smell and sight of human feces is not uncommon. Due to overcrowding, many must spend much of their day in the extremely hot sun.
Alternative common care facilities for the mentally handicapped are known as prayer camps. If an individual is unlucky enough to end up in one of these, they face even worse conditions than the psychiatric institutions. These camps are completely void of governmental intervention, so they have no “standards” to live up to. Because these camps rely on non-medical, or rather, anti-medical solutions to the mental issues of the patients, the practices are incredibly cruel.
One of the specific practices implemented by the prayer camps is fasting. Under the paradigm, they tie individuals to trees, and leave them in the criminally hot sun for days without food or water. It must be mentioned that children under the age of ten have undergone this “treatment.”
Doris Appiah, who formerly lived in a prayer camp and psychiatric hospital, stated that, “As soon as you get a mental disability, you nearly lose all your rights, even to give your opinion. We call on government to ensure that services are available to persons with mental disabilities as close as possible and that prayer camps are monitored to guard against abuse of those admitted.”
After these descriptions one may think that life outside these institutions is to be celebrated, but many of those who live in the community face discrimination from others and consequently sink to the bottom of the social stratum without notice. They are greeted by poverty, hunger, and thirst. There is seemingly no escape from persecution if you are mentally disabled in Ghana, and unfortunately, there are close to three million mentally handicapped Ghanaians. This is a huge chunk of the population facing such a high degree of prejudice.
The system is broken, and is in need of repair. Sign below to urge President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana to work towards the rehabilitation of this severely ailing system in order to provide a safe and secure arrangement for mentally disabled individuals in Ghana.
Dear President John Dramani Mahama,
The mentally handicapped currently face prejudice and appalling conditions in your country. Many of those who live in the community face discrimination and are subjected to poverty, hunger, and thirst. Those whose rights are dismantled are forcibly deposited into psychiatric hospitals or prayer camps where conditions are repulsive and practices are oppressive.
This ailing system needs to be repaired. Firstly, the rights of the human should not be dissolved when they lack certain degrees of mental operation. At the very least, decisions should not be made by the state or hospital affiliates, but rather, by members of the family, or some other individual that has an incentive in the individual living a good life.
Furthermore, funds should be allocated towards the psychiatric hospitals in order for these individuals to live in a sanitary environment. Also, the prayer camps should be subjected to extreme regulatory and oversight practices if they are to exist. While the ability to create them should be allowed for the sake of free ideals, no individual should be forced to go to these camps, and if they do choose to enter into these areas, then they should not be subjected to anything that violates what would be deemed as beneficial to an “ordinary” individual.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: GhanaWeb