Attempts to inculcate psychic/traditional healing in mainstream healthcare

Accra, Ghana - The Minister of health, Hon. Major (Rtd.) Courage Quashigah, has expressed concern about the fact that efforts being made by his ministry to incorporate psychic and traditional healers into the mainstream of health delivery in the country have not been successful due to deliberate attempts by intellectuals to thwart this effort.

He stressed on the need to integrate some of our culture practices like the divine methods used in healing and the use of herbs to cure serious sicknesses into our mainstream health care system.

“What is evil about the use of herbs, which were created by God to save lives?” he challenged, “Absolutely nothing.”

The Health Minister was speaking at the 4th grand convention of Afrikania traditional religious believers and practitioners at Aflao in the Ketu district of the Volta Region. The participants were from Ghana, Togo and Benin.

Major Quashigah noted that these intellectuals who continue to undermine the rich cultural values of the land are the very people who seek the assistance of the traditionalists for support in their endeavors.

He also said most of them “seek this help deep in the night so that nobody sees them”.

To buttress his point, the minister said about 45 per cent of the population in Cuba worshipped God through their traditional methods, and yet continued to grow as a nation.

He observed that one cardinal aspect of the traditional and cultural values was to have respect for the elderly, parents and one another, which if upheld, would go a long way to mitigate the numerous socio-cultural problems facing the country.

He therefore charged members of the Afrikania mission to educate the youth on some of these cultural values they had protected over the years and never hide it from them, so they can successfully take over the mantle in future.

He stressed on documentation of the cultural and traditional practices as well as their modification, to attract the youth to learn and practice them for the benefit of posterity.

The Head of the Afrikania mission, His Holiness Osofo Komfo Atsu Kove, said Ghanaians in particular and Africans in general should be content with what they have. He declared that a nation that has no sound culture and traditional values is worthless. He also cautioned Africans not to deny themselves their God-given culture only to take on other that he noted would amount to denying the validity of their own ancestors.

Osofo Kove said African religion and traditions had deliberately been misrepresented and misinterpreted, adding that the so-called ‘trokosi liberators’ recruit innocent girls and women, rehearse them and dress them up to pretend to be ‘trokosis’ suffering in imaginary shrines.

These deliberate attempts were purported by some selfish people to raise funds for themselves. He appealed to the Parliamentary Select Committee on ‘trokosi’ to publish the report of their findings in order to repair the dented image of Ghana and Africa.

Osofo Kove emphasized the need for the country to adopt some of its cultural practices like the idea of environmental protection, whereby in the past water bodies, plants and various animal species were protected to enhance ecological balance.

He also called on the government to control the importation of foreign herbal preparations to encourage local herbalists and healers to give of their best and save the country a huge some of foreign exchange.

The leader of the Afriakania mission also advocated general reconciliation among ethnic groups, various political parties in the country and among nations in the Africa sub-region. He said peace, honesty, love, fellow-feeling and forgiveness were the doctrines of Afrikania tradition, and when adopted by political leaders would engender peace and reconciliation in the country and Africa as a whole.

The National Chairman of the Ghana Psychic and Traditional Healers’ Association, Hunua Yao Dunyo, said those who turned to western cultures and religions have thrown themselves into bankruptcy, sickness, poverty and destruction.

He said the African traditional customs that some Africans are turning away have now become priceless to these foreigners. According to Hunua Dunyo, foreigners now travel to Africa “and proudly initiate into the Yewe cult, Afa oracles, Korku shrines, Afetorku shines and different types of shines”, adding that in future, Africans will spend huge sums of money before these foreigners would release documents on African religion and culture to them.