Family of an 18-year-old young man with Down syndrome at Kwame Anum, a suburb of the Ga South Municipality in Accra, is praying for his early death.
The death of Eric, according to the family, will take away the shame brought on them due to his health condition.
Although health officials have described Eric’s condition as Down Syndrome, the family believes he is a spirit child sent to punish his mother.
Eric, who is currently catered for by two of aunties cannot walk, speak or stand.
He spends his day sitting and crawling in the sand under a tree in his home.
A relative who has been taking care of him expressed frustration with the unwillingness of the family to support Eric’s upkeep.
Eric’s auntie, Comfort Otoo, revealed a spiritualist once advised the family to kill the young man, but they could not come through with the suggestion.
Another spiritualist showed them what to do to end his life – poison the poor boy – but they could not do that either.
Eric’s auntie, Comfort, does not believe orthodox medicine can cure his nephew.
According to the middle-aged woman, Eric’s death will be a relief to everybody in the family.
Down syndrome (DS or DNS) or Down’s syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21.
It is typically associated with physical growth delays, characteristic facial features, and mild to moderate intellectual disability.
The average IQ of a young adult with Down syndrome is 50, equivalent to the mental age of an 8- or 9-year-old child, but this varies widely.
Down syndrome can be identified during pregnancy by prenatal screening followed by diagnostic testing, or after birth by direct observation and genetic testing. Since the introduction of screening, pregnancies with the diagnosis are often terminated – usually with the consent of the family.
In Ghana, the disability population is estimated at 10% of the total population, approximately 2.2 million people.
Most Ghanaian’s consider such people as constituting an economic and financial burden on the family and the society, thus rejected and left to fend for themselves leaving them in abject poverty.
Even though efforts have been made to uphold the dignity and rights of this vulnerable section of Ghana’s population, the country lags significantly.
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