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Human Rights Violations at Psychiatric “Hospital”

Dec 21 2009 | Comments 10

If you haven’t heard of investigative reporter Anas Aremeyaw Anas, that’s a shame. I hadn’t heard of him either until Joe sent me a link to his latest expose on an inpatient facility in Accra, Ghana. It’s unbelievable, though Ghana has an appalling history in its treatment of the mentally challenged and regularly chains people who are mentally ill.

From GhanaWeb:

President Barack Obama praised Aremeyaw Anas, a Ghanaian journalist with a paper called the New Crusading Guide, who worked undercover for eight months, risking his life, to expose a child trafficking ring. The evidence he amassed led to the prosecution of traffickers accused of sending Ghanaian girls to Europe for prostitution.

On his first presidential trip to sub-Saharan Africa, President Obama boosted the Ghanaian investigative reporter profile. He went undercover to break stories about human trafficking, Obama cited the “courageous journalist” as an example of what democracies that respect a free press can produce.

Anas Aremeyaw Anas was named among this year’s CNN/Multichoice African Journalists of the Year Awards finalists for 2009. Anas was the only Ghanaian among 25 finalists from 12 countries.

Okay, so that tells you a little bit about his courage and determination. Now, on to the story:

It is a sad and sorry sight of unimaginable human suffering; of bright lives, powerful brawns and brilliant brains badly bruised and blighted by disease. It is a tale full of terrible and tragic oddities.

The Accra Psychiatric Hospital (Asylum Down), Ghana’s leading psychiatric treatment centre is haemorrhaging from serious administrative, operational and ethical lapses that have seen patients living in subhuman and monstrous conditions.

One inmate is eating from the upturned bottom of a dirty rubber bowl, rather than from the inside. …. Leaning against a wall in another corner, a youthful fellow looks vaguely and forlornly into the sky, mumbling to himself; “I see the moon though it is a bright afternoon.” His shrinking waistline is barely able to keep his trouser firmly on his buttocks; his faded jeans has dropped loose, revealing a not so manly groin bristling with an untidy mass of neglected pubic hair. And over there is a bizarre ritual by a group of four who are full of smiles while slurping some curious liquid that an inmate (Jah) is dropping on their tongues from a goblet he is holding. In fact the officiating “priest” has just urinated into that cup in their very sight and yet, they are licking it with relish!

Yet, if you find the above narrative about our less fortunate compatriots to be unsettling, then what pertains among some of the supposedly normal, sober and more privileged workers at the facility would outrage you beyond measure.

The appalling lack of oversight is nothing compared to the drug dealing and abuse of “patients.” It’s hard to read, but essential.

Click here.

liz | 4:31 PM | Uncategorized

Joe Says:

It is an example for those reporters who routinely cover psychiatric facilities exclusively from the outside. Nellie Bly’s spirit lives on in the deeds and words of Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

Dec 21 5:44 PM

Carter Nelsen Says:

I agree: This kind of reporting is what the mental health world needs everywhere on Earth. It’s sad to know this Ghananian facility is stuck in the dark ages; I’d imagine that’s true in many facilities the world over. There’s a shitload of investigative journalism that still needs doing, in the U.S. as well.

Dec 22 12:04 PM

kristen Says:

i enjoy reading this blog. i’m a student in philly, and would like to know more about how to contact the author (contact page is down).

Dec 25 11:12 AM

Marilyn Says:

What are you suprised about? Mental “facilities’ are a disgrace everywhere. case in point: have been fired from six of them. Not adhering to the rules. if I adhere i wouldnt be sick. right?

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