Wednesday, February 20, 2013


BY Dovia Emmanue Gameli

The independent candidat Evans Gadeto Djikunu  of the Akatsi south constituency  addressed his supporters when the police denied them from demonstrating against the electoral commission.

Mr Gadeto who contested on the just ended bye-election in the Akatsi south constituency, was aggrieved about the EC’s results declared at the collation centre. He said there are some irregularities observed and some of the results from polling stations given to the rival, the NDC candidate was wrong and fraud. In a press conference yesterday, Mr Gadeto Djikunu disclosed that, the speaker of parliament Hon. Doe Adjaho was at the collation center throughout and connived with the electoral commission to declared the NDC candidate as the winner of the election, and told his supporters to calm down about the way in which the police were preventing from demonstrating against the electoral commission.

Mr. Gadeto Djikunu, a lawyer by profession said “ the NDC seat of the Avenor is not a family seat, it belong to all, that is why they have electoral register to conduct  elections and so why should they be prevented from enjoying their democratic . The person who was sworn in as MP for Akatsi South is not the person elected and so Akatsi south have no MP in parliament. He noted that results given to the NDC candidate from zone 3 and zone 7 polling stations  were not the right result.
 Hon Doe Adjaho was monitoring the election even to the collation centre including some chiefs who were also moving form polling stations to polling stations telling people to vote  the NDC candidate .
Although, the election ended successfully with very low turnout he was not satisfied with the result declared.

He claimed that, the speaker Hon Doe Adjaho ordered the police to stop some of the radio stations in the town from given out the result when he was leading in some of his strong hold and eventually one of the radio station that belong to the speaker SHINE fm was allowed to air the final result.
When they wrote to the police to demonstrate against the result they told them that they do not have enough men to support them so they should postpone the date and after several postponement the police rather used court order to stop them from the demonstration while the public order allowed for demonstration if peaceful.

He stressed that, according to the public order demonstration is not a crime but rather a civil right for everyone and so why should the police use that order to stop them from airing their grievances to the public; for this is not the first time that this is happening ever since he stated politics even press conference that he wanted to do the police stopped them from doing it all because of the order given by the Hon speaker Doe Adjaho.

In an interviewed with the PRO of the Concerned Akatsi South Youth Association he said, demonstration is their civil right and so they should be allowed to demonstrate since they not happy with the results declared by the electoral commission.
Some of the residents noted that for more than 20 years of being a member of Parliamen, Hon Doe Adjaho  has not been able to improve the water situation, no good road in the area, no development at all and are optimistic of doing the demonstration holding placards with inscriptions; Mr Speaker collation agent Oh EC, Akatsi police be neutral, No zone 3 No zone 7, Prez Mahama save us , NO Adjaho  no MP, we want seat is not for one family Avenor is for all. Mr. Djikunu assured the residents of Akatsi to be calm.


Text and pictures by: Francesco Rocco

Male students studying under canopy
Pupils and teachers of St Joseph Boys School at Amanful in Cape Coast are currrently studying under trees at St. Micheal Girls School in Cape Coast due to inadequate classroom facilities.
This situation has affected enrolment in the school almost 50% of the pupils do not attend lectures because they had to share the facility with their females counterpart.
It is exactly one month since  St Joseph Junior High School at Amanful in Cape Coast got destroyed by fire this led to the relocation of the pupils to St. Micheal Girls School.

St Joseph Boysb School has an enrolment of 85 pupils  and only thirty-five attend classes
The new center has been moved to the near St. Michael’s girls schoool.

The uneasiness for the ST. Joseph’s Boys School are quite a lot because in the new center there is no space for them, therefore they  had to wait that the girls end up the lessons to be able to start theirs.
A solution of fortune was adopted, as for example to prepare a class in the school compound some are fortunate to be tent while others have to use the tree as their cover. The teachers are not left out since their staff common room is under a tree. The challenges are many, difficulty to focus during the lessons because of the girls often make recreation, and with it rains classes are suspended.
The girls also don't allow the boys to use their baths, so they are forced to urinate and defecate in the bushes that are very close to the classes, making air obviously unpleasant and the healtly conditions at risk.
ST. Joseph's school destroyed by fire
The building housing ST. Joseph’s Boys that was destroyed by fire has not been demolished as promised by the officials of Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly and it poses danger to residents and pupils residing in the area.


 Text and pictures by: Francesco Rocco

Nzulezu is a traditional village starter over 500 years ago situated in the Jomoro district, in the Western Region of the Ghana, next to Beyin, around 90 west km of Takoradi. The village raises in the middle of Tadane lake, and it is a solid construction of wood and raffia, with a central way, entirely constituted of stilts. In 2000 it bacame a Human's Patrimony and it is an important tourist attraction of the zone.

The name "Nzulezu", in language Nzema, means "the water's surface." According to the local legends, the village was built by a group of people coming from Walata, a city of the ancient Empire Ghana, that came on following a snail. It is not known for what reason the village has been built on the water; the principal activity of its inhabitants is in fact the agriculture, while the fishing develops a secondary role.

The lake is perceived from the local population as a protection from some dangers (for example from the fires).

The village has run to become Patrimony of the humanity for its anthropological importance: besides being one of the few ancient installations on stilts remained in the world, it keeps a great wealth of local traditions tied to the cult of the lake. Along the banks of the Tadane lake, many religious rites are praticed and the Thursday, the holy day of the lake, it is forbidden to work.

The only way to reach Nzulezu village is by canoe, along the Amansuri River. The journey last around one hour with the help of good guide and you pass through many differents and amazings landscapes. Once you arrive, you can probably feel a little bit unwelcome, the people appear to have grown somewhat tired of strangers tramping throught their small community and most of all if you want to take some pictures is always better to ask before!

The population of the village is roughly 450 men, women and children governed by a chief and a “Princess” who is the only one who can answer to your questions and explain you the inhabitants situation and what about their lifestyle. Do not come empty-handed, donations are requirement.

Nzulezu has two churches, Pentecostal and Catholic, that stand side by side and a primary school at the end of the main walkway. At the moment this school has 5 teachers for 72 students. There are also two guest houses if you want to spend here the night. There is no access to healthcare within the village, the inhabitants must reach the nearest town for medical treatment. Pregnant women sometimes choose to take a canoe and then a bus to reach the nearest town with a hospital, while others give birth in the stilt village without any assistance from medical professionals but a traditional birth attendant.
For the food, the population of Nzulezu is composed by fishermen and agriculturists who fertile fields that lie about a 1km in the north of the lake, providing a major part of the village food supply.
The residents of Nzulezu had access to electicity seven months ago.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Text and photos by: Francesco Rocco

Unlike their counterpart wheelchair basketball team players in other developed countries the Cape Coast team are always seen using clinical wheelchairs in practising in their games rather than sport wheelchairs.
The Coach of the Basket Ball team in Cape Coast, Claudius Thompson, 35 years old, Ghanaian of Koforidua, noted that his team partecipated at the All National Games in 2011 and they had third position. They would like to partecipate at  Delta State game in Nigeria, on the 15th of February 2013, but  according to him it seems very difficult to participate due to some financial challenges to transport and accomodate the team in Nigeria. He has written to the Sport Council for support but it has not been given the needed attentino. At the moment they have only seven medical wheelchairs but to partecipate they need official sport wheelchairs  and one cost about $1,500. The basket ball court needs to go through major rehabilitation. They need a bus to transport them to and fro to participate in the games ,  but funds are not enough.
Cludius Thompson and his team
Claudius Thompson, together with other friends, in 2008 established the non-profit organization HOOPS CARE INTERNATIONAL.
The mission of Hoops Care International is to provide opportunities for children and youth to develop leadership skills, healthy lifestyle, work ethic, commitment, honesty and integrity through sport. Hoops Care International believes in the effectiveness of positive role models, and is active in the fight against HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, drugs and alcohol abuse.
You see them scattered all across towns: some of the physically chanllege persons  and the visiually impaired, begging in traffic and on the sidewalk. These people are some of Ghana’s estimated 2.5 million disabled, themselves part of the world’s one billion, 80% of whom are thought to live in developing countries like this one.
Not only do they represent a human rights disaster, but also a serious impediment to socio-economic development. This at a time when Ghana is considered, however controversially, to be a lower-middle income nation and whose oil sector is expected to fuel double digit economic growth.
The convention, with the consequent optional protocol, in December 13 th 2006 has been adopted to the center U.N. in New York, and it has been open to the signatures on following March 30. The event was marked by a double record. The protocol is the first  on the human rights of the 21st  century and in the first available day it was signed by 82 countries the convention and from 44 the protocol: the tallest number of signatory of the history to a convention of the United Nations in its day of opening.

Ghana has started as 5 years giving a concrete value to that signature. "This is a first important footstep to guarantee that the 5 million of ghanaian people with disability are as equal citizens, with right peer", said Middle Ssengooba, of Human Rights Watch. "Ghana now needs to adjust its own legislations and its own routines to allow that the promises of the convention become reality for the people with disability." But during this long attended the actions of the African state are not certain as faithful to the appointment or to the intent. HRW has reported the abuses against the disabled persons like violation of the fundamental liberties, impossibility to access the cares primary and serious discriminations from the authorities themselves.

Fortunately it is not always this way. Walking along Cape Coast seaside, on Wednesday and Saturday from 7:00 to the 9:30 in the morning, can be noticed as there is someone to which the matter is particularly to heart.

It is here, on the basketball camp of Cape Coast, that these people, males and females from the 15 years to 50, they are found twice a week, trained by the coach of German origins, Paoulinas, 19 years old. They start with a training before the real match.
In 2012 in the 14th Paralympic Games in Excel, London, Ghana's Charles Teye Narh could only manage an eighth place in the 10-man keenly contested Powerlifting event. Though Teye Narh's 140kg single successful lift, earned him a third place in Group B, it was not enough to keep him in the medal zone after results of Group A, was added to his group pushing him down to the eighth position. He has thus ended his campaign in the competition and joins Raphael Botsyo Nkegbe, who also failed in his attempt to pick a place in the finals of the men's 100 meters T54 category. Teye Narh, faced a stiff competition in the contest, that was won by Liu Lei of China who apparently made a new Paralympic and World records with 218kg in his first attempt and 226kg in an optional fourth attempt.
The principal reason for which it is difficult for the Ghanaian athletes disabled to arrive to high-level is the lack of structures and funds.

Wheelchair basketball is considered one of the major disabled sports practiced. The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) is the governing body for this sport. It is recognized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as the sole competent authority in wheelchair basketball world wide. FIBA has recognized IWBF under Article 53 of its General Statutes.

IWBF has 82 National Organizations for Wheelchair Basketball (NOWBs) actively participating in wheelchair basketball throughout the world with this number increasing each year. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people play wheelchair basketball from recreation to club play and as elite national team members. Wheelchair basketball is played by boys and girls, men and women.
Wheelchair basketball sees tremendous competition and interest on the international level. Wheelchair basketball is included in the Paralympic Games that are held every four years for athletes with physical disabilities immediately following the Olympics in the same city that hosts the Summer Olympics just two weeks after the closing of the Summer Games.
A Gold Cup (the Wheelchair Basketball World Championship), is organized two years after every Paralympic Games. Major competition in wheelchair basketball comes from Canada, Australia, USA, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Japan.
The 1940s saw the beginning of wheelchair basketball.

For informations about Hoops Care Int. and to contribute, check out this website:


By: Francesco Rocco

MTN Ghana Foudation has constructed  a 6-unit classroom block with 20-seater ICT centre for the people of Srafa and Immuna communities.

This projects has been successfully completed and ready to be used by the children and the future leaders of our society.
This huge investment (GHc 180,006.65) consist in 6-unit classroom block with 20-sitter ICT centre, an office and a store, but the structure is nothing without the right parental support!

The Executive Secretary of the MTN Ghana Foundation, Robert Kuzoe noted that one of the objectives of the foundation is to encourage children to develop their own talents and skills, to make them the leaders of tomorrow and to contribute to the future of  Ghana.
“Every child has a special gift and talent and we have the responsibility to discover what is it. It doesn’t matter what they want to do in their life, they will need education to achieve it. What they are learning in school today will determine what they become in future” he said.

He disclosed that the foundation MTN has undertaken several projects across the country, for example some of the infrastructure include the construction of three and six unit classroom blocks in all 10 regions of Ghana, 18 ICT Centres of learning for various schools in the country and the support of Academy of Educational Development (AED) to improve literacy and numeracy skills of children in the Northern Region.

The MTN Foundation is the foremost Corporate Social Responsibility CSR management structure for the MTN Group's related initiatives across its 21 operations.
The MTN Ghana Foundation was established in 2007 as a single purpose vehicle to drive all MTN's Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives in the country. The Foundation currently has two focus areas, which are Health and Education. The Foundation is set up as a separate legal entity with its own independent Board of Directors and patrons who oversee the operations of the Foundation. The Foundation manifests its commitment to the socio-economic development of the country by improving the quality of people's lives through appropriate and sustainable Social interventions in communities where it operates.
The MTN Foundation is an umbrella structure established within the MTN Group, and charged with the responsibility of directing and managing the company's Corporate Social Responsibility activities wherever MTN operates. The mission of the MTN Foundation is to improve the quality of people's lives through appropriate Corporate Social Responsibility interventions in communities where it operates.
As part of its work the MTN Ghana Foundation normally selects projects based on Proposals submitted by different categories of people and forwards it to its Board of Directors for approval. The Foundation wishes to inform the general public about the guidelines on Proposal Submission to facilitate its work.

Its mission is to improve the quality of people's lives through appropriate and sustainable corporate The MTN Foundation is an umbrella structure established within the MTN Group, and charged with the responsibility of directing and managing the company's Corporate Social Responsibility activities wherever MTN operates. The mission of the MTN Foundation is to improve the quality of people's lives through appropriate Corporate Social Responsibility interventions in communities where it operates.
As part of its work the MTN Ghana Foundation normally selects projects based on Proposals submitted by different categories of people and forwards it to its Board of Directors for approval. The Foundation wishes to inform the general public about the guidelines on Proposal Submission to facilitate its work.
social responsibility interventions in communities where MTN operates.
The Foundation aims at having a broad community impact and supporting national and international development priorities. It facilitates partnership and sharing of resources to achieve mutual objectives.

MTN's global policy is to have a proportion of each operating unit's profit after tax PAT dedicated to undertaking corporate social responsibility activities. These funds are what the Foundation uses for its projects.

The objectives of the foundation are to demonstrate MTN Ghana's commitment to, and support for, community empowerment.
To administer social investment programmes as part of the core business of MTN Ghana.
To enhance the image of MTN as a responsible corporate citizen.
To develop a holistic corporate social responsibility CSR programme as part of the reputation management strategy for MTN Ghana.
To improve upon the MTN brand in all operating areas.
To foster teamwork values among MTN Ghana staff through a proactive Employee Volunteer Association supporting the Foundation's activities in consonance with MTN Ghana's HR Division.
To foster strategic partnerships with other national / international partners and stakeholders for good corporate citizenship collaboration.


By: Francesco Rocco

The Rector of Cape Coast Polytechnic, Dr. Lawrence Atepor has disclosed that the institution would be transformed  into a world-class  technical university.

It will be polytechnic of choice for technical vocational education and training (TVET) comparable to any technical university in the world. He made this known in an exclusive interview with CENTRAL PRESS on his vision for the polytechnic as the rector of the institution.

New demand-driven programmes will be introduced as computer science, marine engineering, petroleum engineering and Medical Laboratory Technology. Industry-based training programmes would be instituted for the students for an easy integration into the world of work.
Linkages with other world’s University would be established.

Dr. Atepor said mutually beneficial linkages with education institutions both within and outside, would be established and that the Polytechnic was already holding discussions with Aberdeen University in Scotland for Petroleum, Marine Engineering and Fisheries programmes and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology for oil and gas programme.
He added that the Polytechnic had already established linkage with the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCAT) to run a Bachelor of Technology programme in Mechanical Engineering.

He said that research and publication among staff would be promoted by encouraging publicaton in refereed journals, inclouding seminars, workshops and conference for staff. He will establish also a Research and Innovation Centre to source for funding.

He would like to transform the Polytecnic’s library into a modern electronic one. Existing infrastructure would be refurbished and modernized and new ones added to increase student enrolment. Residential facilities would be constructed for both students and staffs.

He would establish a Quality Assurance Unit to regulate teaching, research and extension services of members of staff to ensure quality in the delivery of academic and other ancillary services within the polytechnic.

He noted that a Business Advisory Centre to facilitate consultancy services would be established to generate income to execute some of the projects, he said the Department of Mechanical Engineering  had presented two proposals  to the Council for Technical, Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) amounting $750,000 and $500,000 waiting for approval.

He said a motor servicing centre would also be established by the Mechanical Engineering Department to service certain categories of vehicles like Yutong buses and Nissan vehicles through partnership with J.P Plant Pool and African motors.

Dr. Atepor would ensure that students were able to graduate on schedule and that next year, three batches of 2011, 2012 and 2013 students would graduate.
He tasked the teaching staff to put aside the checkered past of the Polytechnic and forge ahead with the development of C-Poly.

“It’s not easy to realize this project but if we work as a team, nothing is impossibile. We are the future and we have to built it now” he said.

He said also that to get Polytechnic on its feet again we have to work together in peace and harmony. We do not have to behave like the proverbial ostrich. We should be honest to compare our Polytechnic today to other polytechnics and ask ourselves what we went wrong. We have come from a chekered past where bickering, backbiting and mistrust and spirit of division had consumed us to such an extent that we had lost focus on why we are here.

Dr. Lawrence Atepor
Dr Lawrence Atepor, 46, on 20th December 2012, assumed the position of a Rector of the Cape Coast Polytechnic (C-Poly) with a pledge to work hard to transform C-Poly into a world class polytechnic of choice for technical and vocational training comparable to any technical university globally.
He took over office from Mr Kobena Atombo Simpson the acting Rector of the Polytechnic in September 2012.
Dr Atepor comes from Sovie in the Volta Region and obtained his Ordinary and Advanced Level certificates from the Opoku Ware Secondary School in Kumasi from 1976 to 983.
He attended the University of Ghana Legon for one year and left for the USSR to pursue a programme leading to the award of a Master of Science (MSc degree in Mechanical Engineering (machinery Option) at the Tashkent Institute of Engineers of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization.
In 2009, Dr Atepor was awarded a Doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom.
He joined the Cape Coast Polytechnic as a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 1997 and had served in various capacities. He also implemented the TALIF project involving the setting up of Fluid Mechanic, Fluid Machines and Hydraulics Laboratory worth $150,000.

Cape Coast Polytechnic was established in 1984 as a second cycle institution. In 1986, it operated under the administration of Ghana Education Service to offer intermediate courses leading to the award of non-tertiary certificates. In 1992, the Polytechnic was upgraded to tertiary level by PNDCL 321 to run programmes for the award of the Higher National Diplomas. The new Polytechnic Act of 2007, Act 745 has given the Polytechnic the mandate to run degree programs.

At the moment Cape Coast Polytechnic run Bachelor of Technology in Building Tecnology and Mechanical Engineering.


Text and photo by: Francesco Rocco

During the recent World Aids Day observed in Central Region, it was made known that the antiretroviral drugs would be free of charge to Persons living with Aids, however information reaching CENTRAL PRESS indicates that the free drug policy has not been implemented.

When asked why some of the officials at the Family Planning Unit of the Central Regional Hospital disclosed that they are yet to receive a formal directive from the Ministry of Health to give the drug free of charge. Though they noted that all Persons living with Aids are made to register with the National Health Insurance Scheme free of charge, the programme has been for more than two years. Each month Persons living with Aids are made to pay five Ghana cedis for the antiretroviral drug.

Like other countries worldwide, HIV/AIDS is present in Ghana. As of 2004, an estimated 404,000 people infected with the virus. HIV prevalence is highest in the Eastern Region of Ghana and lowest in the northern regions of the country. In response to the epidemic, the government has established the Ghana AIDS Commission which coordinates efforts amongst NGO's, international organizations and other parties to support the education about and treatment of aids throughout Ghana. In particular, the United States, European nations and the United Nations have supplied aid to help alleviate HIV/AIDS issues in Ghana.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Ghana seems to be progressing slowly. The Government of Ghana estimated the number of adults and children living with HIV as of 2004 at 404,000. The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated the HIV prevalence in adults to be 3.1% at the end of 2003, with an estimated 350,000 people living with HIV/AIDS. Ghana’s 2003 Demographic and Health Survey reported prevalence at 2.2% among the 9,000 people who agreed to be tested.
Ghana’s system of HIV surveillance for women attending antenatal clinics has functioned well since its establishment in 1994. Sentinel surveys of 21 antenatal clinic sites in 2002 reported a range from 3.2% to 9.1% in prevalence among pregnant women. In 2002, the median HIV prevalence at four of these sites in Accra was 4.1%; elsewhere in Ghana, prevalence in antenatal clinics ranged from 3.2% to 3.4%.
HIV prevalence is highest in the Eastern Region of Ghana and lowest in the northern regions of the country. Prevalence is generally higher in urban areas, in mining and border towns, and along main transportation routes. HIV-1 accounts for 92% of HIV cases in Ghana; another 7.4% of reported HIV cases are dual infections with HIV-1 and HIV-2. Only 0.5% of HIV cases were exclusively HIV-2. Heterosexual intercorse is the mode of transmission for about 80% of HIV cases, with mother-to-child transmission accounting for another 15%. According to the 2003 Demographic and Health Survey, HIV prevalence is very low among most younger age groups, as relatively few are infected during their youth (with the exceptions of infants infected through their mothers). The infection peaks late, compared to other countries, at 35–39 years for women and 40–45 years for men. The infection levels are highest in middle income and middle educational groups, with the poor and unemployed less affected.
Though evidence is still being gathered for making program decisions, some populations thought to be at risk include sex workers, transport workers, prisoners, sexual partners of people living with HIV/AIDS, and men who have sex with men and their female sexual partners. HIV prevalence among uniformed services is not fully established.
Mrs. Daphinè Nyagorme
Mrs. Daphinè Nyagorme, RCC double as the regional focus person for HIV, says that the real solution to this problem is that ghanaian people have to change behaviour, life style and began to take care of their lifes.
Approximately 9,600 children under age 15 are living with HIV/AIDS, and at the end of 2003, nearly 170,000 children under age 17 had lost one or both parents to AIDS. At that time only a few thousand of these children had received assistance such as food aid, health care, protection services, or educational or psychosocial support.
There is widespread knowledge of HIV and modes of transmission, with awareness of AIDS estimated at greater than 95%, although fear and stigmatization of HIV-positive people remain high. Ghanaians are at risk of further HIV spread for a variety of reasons, including engaging in transactional sex, marriage and gender relations that disadvantage women and make them vulnerable to HIV, inaccurate perceptions of personal risk, and stigma and discrimination toward people living with HIV/AIDS

Discrimination infact is one of the main problems. If a man is affected by HIV, nobody want to make him work. If a child is affected, nobody want to let him go to school to follow lessons. This understanding lake has to be overcome. Without sensibilisation about this disease, the problem can never be solved.


Text and photos by: Francesco Rocco

The World Health Organization estimates that close to 3 million Ghanaians live with mental disabilities and 600,000 of these have very severe mental conditions.

Ghana’s three public psychiatric hospitals – in Accra, Pantang, and Ankaful – house an estimated 1,000 people with mental disabilities. In all three institutions, Human Rights Watch found filthy conditions, with foul odors in some wards or even feces on the floors due to broken sewage systems. The hospital in Accra was severely overcrowded and many people spent all day outside the hospital building in the hot sun, with little or no shade.
Human Rights Watch found that at least hundreds – and possibly thousands – of people with mental disabilities are institutionalized in prayer camps associated with Pentecostal churches. Managed by self-proclaimed prophets, these camps operate completely outside of government control. People with mental disabilities at these camps do not receive any medical treatment – in some, such treatment is prohibited even when prescribed by a medical doctor. Instead, the prophets seek to “cure” patients through spiritual healing.

Along the street from Yamonransa and Asebu we visited the Abrabo Prayer Camp. Central Press spoke with the founder of the camp, Mr. Kojo Abrabo, and we had a conversation with an old woman of 95 years old who joined the camp two months ago.
She explained to us that she had already tried to go to an hospital structure, but with no success, bacause of the lack of psychological support and the bad conditions in which she was found. She said lonelyness can upset people. "Thanks to the prayer I have been saved!" she said, adding that twice to week she goes to make the controls to the hospital and, indeed, the examinations are improved” she siad.

At a first sight, the camp looks in very basic. Conditions in prayer camp is very awful: most of the mental patients due to their aggressive nature  are chained by their ankles to trees in open compounds, where they slept, urinated, and defecated and bathed. People stand on the ground all day long. The absence of concrete floor means that when it rains falls the floor will be mudy everywhere. Feeding patients it is often a real problem and hygenic conditions are very precaroius most of all for the presence of 10-14 years old children.

The Ghanaian government has done little to combat such abuse or to ensure that these people can live in the community, as is their right under international law.

Ghana’s 2012 Mental Health Act, which went into effect in June 2012, creates a system through which people with disabilities can challenge their detention in psychiatric hospitals.

The government should create community-based support services, including housing and healthcare that enable people with mental disabilities to live in the community.
The government should also ensure that people are not forcefully detained in these facilities or in psychiatric hospitals and that they have access to mechanisms to challenge any violations of their rights.

Even Ghana Health Service’s chief psychiatrist  Dr. Akwasi Osei was said to “pop champagne” when he heard the announcement.
“It is my expectation that five years from now there will be no mad persons roaming the streets of the country, since they will be effectively treated and integrated into society,” Dr Osei told the Daily Graphic.
It was a sentiment shared by Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital Medical Director Dr.  Kwaw Armah-Arloo.
As one of only 13 qualified psychiatrists practicing in Ghana and the head of one of the three psychiatric hospitals, Dr Armah-Arloo has been a central figure in shaping the legislation. And, he said, were he present when the bill’s passage was announced, he had no doubt he would have joined his colleagues in jubilation.
At its heart, the passage of the bill into law will enable the shift from institutional to community-based care for most mental health patients.
The new law will establish a Mental Health Board independent of the Ghana Health Service, which means it will be able to source external funding from NGOs. It also allows for greater integration of mental health services by establishing district committees to ensure access to care is more uniform nationally.
It is the first significant overhaul of mental health since legislation was first introduced in Ghana in 1972.
Above all, says Dr Armah-Arloo, the establishment of the Mental Health Board and the shift to community-based care will ensure better use of available resources. That, he said, would not only benefit patients but the government and all taxpayers.
“The biggest problem until now we have emphasised on institutional care, especially the three big psychiatric hospitals, which unfortunately are all in the southern part of Ghana” Dr Armah-Arloo said.
“So that has been the practice in the past -- just dumping people in psychiatric hospitals.
“What we want to do new is shift the emphasis into the community. So we are shifting from institutional-based care to community-based care.”
While this shift would not spell the end for psychiatric hospitals, Dr Armah-Arloo said it would end many years of frustration for mental health professionals.
Until the enactment of the bill, mental health care, excluding the cost of medications, makes up a paltry proportion of the overall GHS budget, between 2 and 2.5%.
Too much of this funding, Dr Armah-Arloo said, was wasted on things like feeding and cleaning up after inpatients rather than actually treating them.
“Before I actually moved into psychiatry, I was a general practioner for a long time, I didn’t really think in those terms,” he said.
“When I joined psychiatry in 1998, I looked at the huge investment the government is making just feeding people.
“Here at Ankaful we have more than 350 inmates and we are feeding them morning, noon and night. This could be moved into the community. The government will not need to spend all this amount of money on secondary expenses like food.”
Last year, the Ghana Health Service spent 600,000 Ghana  cedis on maintaining patients before factoring in their treatment costs.
The key improvements the passage of the bill brought, Dr Armah-Arloo said, would be to “prune down the number of patients in psychiatric hospitals; open psychiatric wings in regional and district hospitals; and, education”.
The number of inpatients in Ghana’s three psychiatric hospitals stands at about 1,000.
“If we can even halve this, that will be savings to the government,” Dr Armah-Arloo said.
“If you look at the cost of maintaining patients in hospitals, it’s huge. With the new law they will be living with their own parents.”
Echoing his colleagues’ sentiments about the end of wandering lunatics, Dr Armah-Arloo said: “Most of our problems are that people are treated. They return home, but they are not integrated into their communities. Therefore, they walk the streets.
“But if you have systems in place, if you are able to monitor them, a lot of times this can be avoided.”

He said Community Mental Health officers, new roles created by the new legislation, would make regular visits to mentally ill people at their homes to make sure they were taking their medicines and getting the support they needed. These officers would also act as key liaisons between the various stakeholders in a patient’s treatment. For instance, they would ensure police officers in the local community were aware of a mentally ill person’s condition so they could treat them appropriately.


Name: Ditte Jensen
Age: 21
Nationality: Denmark
Lenght of stay: 1 month

I am here for the Care project. I work at the orphanage and in a school where i assist the teacher and i help people who has problems with schoolworks.
I know some people who has already been in Ghana and they liked it so much. It is also an occasion for learning english and improve it!
It was hard to start this experience, being part of a school and of a new culture. At the beginning it was a little bit boring because you don’t know people yet, but after some days, the country, the project and the whole experience become fantastic and amazing.
Give to the projects and culture some time to get used to it.

Name: Jodi Kane
Age: 23
Nationality: Australian
Lenght of stay: 3 months

I am in the Care project. I work in Hope and Happiness orphanage in Cape Coast. I also do sports at the school before the orphanage and the next week i start the medical project one day a week.
I choose Ghana because of i heard from other volunteers good things about this country. I don’t really have a strong reason why other than i wanted to come to Africa.
I was very scared because there were people everywhere and everyone looks at you all the time.
You only have to get used to and than you begin to love ghanians. That i love the most is that everyone is so nice and smiling.
I have only been here for three weeks, so no advise yet other than to have an open mind and want to help as much as possible.

Name: Lea Buettner
Age: 18
Nationality: German
Length of stay: 3 months

I am here for journalism project, working at Cape Coast Polytechnics for the Eagle FM Radio Station.
I been travelling around for a while and i met many people that were in Ghana. I always wanted to go to Africa and when those people told me how beautiful Ghana is and how much fun they had, i decided to go there.
The people here are the nicest people i ever met. They seriously care about you and they want you to feel welcome. I felt home from the first day on.
Just be open-minded and try to adopt the ghanaian culture. Be in contact with your host family, they can show and teach you a lot.

Name: Yvan Whomsley
Age: 19
Nationality: British and French
Lenght of stay: 2 months

On Tuesday, Wensday and Thursday mornings i work at Queen Elizabeth school as a teacher. Every afternoon i work at Aseibu for the sports program.
I choose Ghana because i wanted to discover an african country for the first time and because Ghana offered the best sports program.
I liked Ghana straight away because people are friendly and welcoming! I like the way everyone is happy and joyful. What i also admire is the way they help each other. For the moment i like everything about Ghana!
Volunteers who come to Ghana should be open minded and they should trust the staff and host families for anything. Adjusting to life here is easy if you try new things and embrace a new culture!

Name: Sofie Roth
Age: 17
Nationality: Dutch
Lenght of stay: 2 months

I am doing Care and Sport project. I work every morning in a school next to the orphanage where i work for the rest of the day. Two days a week, in the afternoon, i go to Asebu for the Sport project.
I choose Ghana bacause i wanted to see Africa and lot of people told me that is one of the best and nicest countries of Africa to start with and because of ghanaian speak english and i wanted to improved it.
It is really a different world from one that i come. There are taxi everywhere and a big crowd all day long, but people is very friendly and is nice to meet so much other volunteers.
If you feel homesick just think about what you are doing here! Not everyone can get this great  opportunity and, after all, you should be proud of yourself. Give it time and try to dive in the ghanian culture.