A 13-month-old baby was sodomised at a prayer camp near Japekrom in the Jaman South District. The incident occurred while the baby’s mother attended the watchnight service on December 31, 2017 to usher in the New Year.
The Deputy Director, incharge of Public Health in the Bono Region, Dr Paulina Appiah, who narrated the chilling story to The Mirror, said it was awful to see the tear of the anal region with bleeding and fatty tissue protruding.
The more pathetic part of the story, as told by Dr Appiah at a conference of the Paediatric Society of Ghana in Sunyani, was that even though the baby was sent to the St Mary’s Catholic Hospital at Drobo, and was given a referral to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi that did not happen simply because the parents did not have money.
As a result, she said the matter was reported to the Social Welfare Department and the Domestic Violence Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU), of the Ghana Police Service, which picked up the case and followed up to the prayer camp, but they were unable to find the culprit.
“At the end of the day, the owner of the prayer camp where the horrible act took place was asked to bear the hospital bill.
The last I heard of the case was that the wound was dressed, and it healed but the infant was not sent for further evaluation at the referral facility”, Dr Appiah stated.
“This is the true state of the Ghanaian child where the public service structures are incapable of protecting our vulnerable children.
I am sure many of you have stories of how parents were not able to afford the cost of medication for their children and the burden of finding and paying for drugs remain with the nurses and pediatricians to manage the child”.
Dr Appiah said issues of child health should be prioritised since investing in children is money well spent.
The theme for the conference was “Healthcare Planning and Delivery: The True State of the Ghanaian Child.”
When The Mirror contacted, the Bono Regional Officer of DOVVSU, DSP Setina Aboagye, confirmed the story but explained that the culprit had not yet been found.
“We have been investigating the matter since it was reported to us but unfortunately since the victim was a 13-month old baby, it was difficult identifying the culprit”, she stated.
Despite the trauma that the infant went through, the mother, according to DOVVSU “told us that the child is doing well and that she was treated and discharged at the St Mary’s Catholic Hospital, Drobo without being referred to another facility”.
Department of Social Welfare
An official of the Social Welfare Department in Sunyani, Mr Clement Adjei-Benneh, who was incharge of the Jaman South District at the time of the incident confirmed the story.
He explained to The Mirror that even though he briefed authorities of the Jaman South District Assembly, he was told that the police were investigating the case.
An extract from the 2018 First Quarter Report of the Brong Ahafo Regional Directorate of the Social Welfare Department read as follows:
“Doctors at the St Mary’s Hospital during the quarter discharged the 13-month old baby who was defiled by an unknown assailant in December 2017 during an all-night service”.
“The baby, whose name has been withheld for obvious reasons was said to be doing well after undergoing intensive care at the facility for nearly eight weeks”.
“The Drobo Police has however, given indications that investigations will continue until the culprit is apprehended and dealt with”.