Ghana Faith Healers, TBAs call for passage of Mental Health Bill

The Ghana Association of Faith Healers (GAFH) and Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) on Monday appealed to the government for the swift implementation of the Mental Health Bill.

The Bill would replace the Mental Health Decree of 1972 and would facilitate the establishment of the Mental Health Authority which would have the mandate of making rules and regulations governing the treatment of mentally ill persons.

GAFH and TBA are made up of traditional medicine practitioners such as herbalists, circumcisers, spiritualists, “okomfo”, “mallams”, “hunua”, prophets, “amegashies” and bonesetters.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Mr Kweku Owusu, General Secretary, GAFH and TBA, appealed to members of the association, especially herbalists, to desist from using the title “Dr” since they had not been trained to use that title.

“It is against our Code of Conduct for members, especially herbalists, to use the title ‘Dr’. The right title that we have been mandated to use is ‘Traditional Dr’ or ‘T-Dr'”.

Mr Owusu called on the public to report to the nearest Police Station members who used the “Dr” title since this tended to create an erroneous impression on the minds of Ghanaians.

He also urged members to support the implementation of the Traditional Medicine Practice Act 2000 (Act 575) which sought to regulate their activities.

The Act would help improve standards and eliminate human rights violations among members, especially in churches, prayer camps and healing centres.

There are about 20,000 Traditional Medicine Practitioners (TMPs) in the country.

Mr Owusu praised members of the association for their efforts in creating awareness on the need for quality and efficient health care delivery methods and promotion of human rights in churches and prayer camps.

He appealed to members to ensure that their products were acceptable to the public by registering with the association and operating in hygienic environments.

“Though the efficacy of our preparations have not been in doubt there is the need to produce them in a more hygienic and scientifically tested environment,” he said.

He said the association had established task forces in all the 10 regions to apprehend faith healers and TBA who would be caught flouting the rules of the association and committing human rights abuses.

Mr Owusu said about 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the Ghanaian population sought primary health care from TMPs and called for the documentation of the works of proven TMPs for use by posterity.

“I will appeal to the Ghana Health Service to help us in preserving and documenting the works, especially the preparation of herbal drugs of our members, which have been proven and accepted by all for study by future generations,” he added.

Source: GNA

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