VIDEO: Infanticide in Ghana - Killing Spirit Children

VIDEO: Infanticide in Ghana - Killing Spirit Children

VIDEO: Infanticide in Ghana - Killing Spirit Children

Local Nankani leaders in Northern Ghana have issued a decree to stop the local practice of killing disabled children.

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Infanticide has been common in remote northern Ghana for hundreds of years where new born children born with disabilities or malnourished children have been labelled as "Spirits Children" and put to death.

The children, upon declaration of their status as Spirit Children, are administered a poisonous potion that kills them.

The Spirit Children are believed to be possessed with evil spirits who have come out from the bush in order to kill people in local villagers.

Perpetuating western negative stereotypes about indigenous practices aside, the practice may in fact have a reason, albeit a horrifying one based on the communities survival.

The likely anthropological reasoning behind this form of infanticide is that a disabled children would place an inordinate amount of economic strain on an already desperately poor society.

In an economic sense the cost of raising a disabled child far outweighs any potential benefits such as taking care of parents in their old age or contributing to the survival of the community.

The age old practice in Ghana has been until now carried out by "concoction men".

They are the men that through a ritual declare the child possessed by an evil spirit and administer the poison.

Local and international campaigners have finally convinced local leaders to abandon the practice. A better understanding of health care and practice is being credited for the change in the local policy.

The "concoction men" have been given new roles in the communities and will be charged with ensuring the protection of disabled children.

The following clip from a Northern Arizona University Anthropology lecturer explains the practice and how various organisations have worked together to teach the Nankani community about health care and disabled rights.

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