A 16-year-old girl has lost her life at the Ridge Hospital in Accra because a 72-year-old self-styled prophetess/herbalist, called Elizabeth Charles, allegedly gave her to a guy for Ghc5 and the guy impregnated her while she was only 15 years old.
The girl was reported to have been in a deep coma for days because she suffered from a double dose of convulsion due to epilepsy and another complication called eclampsia, which is high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Doctors say she was unconscious and pregnant for 36 weeks when she was brought to the hospital, but they managed to deliver the baby while she was in a coma, and she was subsequently put on life support for about a week before she finally passed on.
Before she was taken to the Ridge Hospital, the girl was sent to the prayer camp of a self-styled prophetess/herbalist at Winneba a year ago to heal her of epilepsy. The name of the camp is Apostle Church of Ghana Ebenezer Garden Number One.
She has since been at the prayer camp, and it was there that the prophetess allegedly took Ghc5 from a man called Kwame, who showed interest in the girl, and gave her out without the consent of the girl’s parents.
The mother of the girl, Joana Genney, told Adom News she only got to know when her daughter was about two months pregnant that the prophetess she trusted her sick daughter with gave her daughter to a man for Ghc5.
“When I asked her how come my daughter was pregnant, she told me she took Ghc5 from the man as a token of his commitment to being the girl’s spouse,” Joana said.
But the prophetess initially denied taking money and giving the girl away, saying that the girl went wayward with the man on her own and got pregnant.
However, she later admitted to receiving Ghc20 from the man for the girl’s upkeep.
She also alleged that the girl’s parents abandoned her at the prayer camp and that made her start getting help from Kwame, the guy who eventually impregnated her.
The prophetess claimed the girl’s epilepsy was caused by spiritual forces, but she healed her completely before the mother went for her.
“Currently, I have about 30 more patients resident at my camp, and I am working on them also,” she said.
But Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist at the Ridge Hospital, Dr Emmanuel Srofenyo told Adom News the girl was brought to the hospital unconscious, and they discovered she was still epileptic and had eclampsia also.
This is contrary to the prophetess’ claim that she cured the girl completely before she left the camp.
“Both diseases cause convulsion, and that was a double dose of convulsion, which was too much for this little girl,” the doctor said.
Dr Srofenyo said the prophetess and the man who impregnated the girl never visited her while she was on admission, so the doctors and nurses had to combine their personal resources to keep the girl alive, until she gave up the ghost.
He believes the law must be brought to bear in the practice where self-styled prophets, prophetesses, mallams, fetish priests and herbalists camp sick people for protracted periods till their sicknesses get worse before rushing them to orthodox hospitals.
“I have witnessed cases where so-called prayer camps harboured pregnant women until they got worse before being rushed to the hospital, only for them to die at the hospital. This is one of the things hampering our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goal on maternal mortality,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Winneba Police picked up the prophetess, Elizabeth Charles, and the parents of Kwame, the guy who impregnated the deceased.
Kwame is still at large, but Inspector Victor Darkey of the Winneba Police said his parents have been asked to produce him or face the law.
He said the police have information that Kwame is working with the family of the deceased towards her funeral and burial, but added that he expects the girl’s family to hand Kwame over to the police, or he would arrest and detain one of them until they produce Kwame.
In Ghana, sex with girl or boy under the age of 16, with or without his or her consent, is defilement, and it attracts between seven to 25 years’ imprisonment term, according to Section 101, Sub-section 2 of the Criminal Code Act 29, 1960.
Lawyer Dr Maurice Ampaw said the boy should be held for defilement and the prophetess held for aiding and abetment of crime if it is proven the girl was a minor when she got pregnant.
He thinks the IGP and the Gender and Social Protection Minister need to intervene and give the matter the seriousness it deserves instead of leaving it to the Winneba Police to handle.
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