A 22-year-old nursing mother is in the grip of the police in Abura Dunkwa for allegedly inflicting a machete wound on her five-year-old stepson and refusing to seek medical attention for him, leading to the festering of the wound and decay of the hand.
The victim lives with his father, a palm wine tapper, and his stepmother, Efua Abaduwa, a farmer, in the Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese District in the Central Region.
According to the District Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Mrs Ellen Osei, early this year, the victim accompanied Abaduwa to farm and while she was in the process of harvesting cassava, the machete being used fell and landed on the boy’s left hand.
However, instead of seeking medical attention for him, Abaduwa resorted to applying herbal concoctions to the wound until the situation deteriorated, Mrs Osei said.
The director said because of the unpleasant odour from the gangrenous wound, the victim was not allowed to sleep in his parent’s room at night.
“Besides, the victim was forced by his stepmother to accompany her to the farm with the wounds on the hand, Mrs Osei said.
Some Good Samaritans who saw the victim with his stepmother on their way to the farm last Monday rescued him and sent him to the Social Welfare office at Abura Dunkwa and a complaint lodged consequently with the police for Baduwa’s arrest.
Medical experts at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, where the victim has been admitted, say the victim’s hand could only be amputated to save his life.
The police have also extended an invitation to the boy’s father, Kojo Mensah, who has been unavailable for some time because of the nature of his work. He is also expected to give his consent for the amputation to take place.
Meanwhile, the Central Regional Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mrs Irene Oppong, has confirmed the arrest of the suspect to assist in investigations.
Child Rights International reacts
When contacted, the Executive Director of Child Rights International, Mr Bright Appiah, said the Department of Social Welfare and the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service should quickly move to provide the needed support for the boy, reports Juliet Safo from Accra.
He said the mother must also be put before the appropriate platform to answer to the difficulty she had taken the child through.
“Immediate attention must be put in place to ensure that the boy gets the needed health care and support,” he added.
Mr Appiah said although it was not always the case to prosecute parents of such children, the authorities must examine the situation and caution them to commit to taking good care of the boy.
In cases where the parent failed to do that, then the state could come in to do what was necessary, he added.
The law also obligated parents to ensure that their children received proper healthcare, thus “the mother was under the obligation to send the boy to the hospital”, Mr Appiah explained.
“The best interest of the child must always be prioritised.
The state should, therefore, consider alternative services if the mother is found not fit to take care of the child,” he said.