MOWAC takes steps to address killing of deformed children
Hajia Hawawu Boya Gariba, Deputy Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, has said that the Ministry is seriously preparing to launch a campaign to address the reported killings of deformed children in the Northern Region.
She said the Ministry would collaborate with other stakeholders, including the National Commission for Civic Education, the Department of Social Welfare and other local and international non-governmental organizations, towards educating the perpetrators of those acts to put an end to them.
The Minister was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Tamale on the efforts her Ministry was taking towards halting the killing of deformed children in some parts of the Region.
The GNA on October, 14, published an article about the killing of deformed children in some parts of the Northern Region.
The story highlighted the common belief among some communities in the North that children born with deformities are “spirit children” and considered too evil or a taboo to be sheltered and catered for.
Hajia Gariba said the campaign would be in a form of educating opinion leaders, assembly members and unit committee members.
She said another component would be a show of video documentaries in the various communities to give credence to the fact that if given the necessary assistance and attention, deformed people could contribute greatly to the development of their communities.
“This issue is a very sensitive one because it deals with people’s perception and beliefs, therefore, there is the need for one to be cautious when dealing with it,” she said.
Hajia Gariba said it is an offence in the law books for any person or group of persons to take another person’s life.
On other details of the campaign, she said, the documentary would teach people some of the reasons for the causes of deformity that occur during child birth and how to seek for assistance when parents find themselves in such situations.
“Most expectant mothers do not even know that eating unbalanced diet can have an effect on the foetus,” she said. “Some of them are living in remote centers and do not even visit the health centers for antenatal health care while others also give birth at late ages such as 40 years.”
The GNA’s investigations revealed that such babies have distinguished features like beards, pubic hair, double sex organs (hermaphrodites), protruding eyes, abnormally large heads or inability to talk and walk after age three to six years.
Other children who bear societal stigma are those who constantly bite their mother’s breast during breast feeding, are born during famine or whose mothers die during delivery.