Hon. Elizabeth Agyemang, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, has called on faith healers to desist from keeping people living with chronic medical conditions in their prayer camps but quickly refer them to health facilities for professional medical treatment.
She said denying such people medical attention under the pretext of healing them spiritually was not only cruel but a violation of their human rights.
Speaking at a breast cancer forum at the Kumasi Technical University, the Minister advised the perpetrators to concentrate on preaching the word of God as they allow medical professionals to do their work.
The forum, held under the theme: “The Role of Religion in Breast Cancer Control in Africa”, was to sensitize participants on the prevention, causes and treatment of the dreaded and fatal disease.
She said it was unacceptable for any faith healer or prophet to attempt to heal a cancer patient who required the urgent services of a specialist due to the dangerous and debilitating nature of the disease.
Madam Agyemang entreated cancer patients to seek professional help even if they would attend church for prayers, adding “the church is no place for cancer treatment”.
Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai, President of Breast Care International (BCI), said breast cancer was curable if detected early yet many people saw it as a death sentence.
She said instead of seeking medical attention, many people resort to prayer camps and only showed up in the hospitals too late when the disease was almost at the terminal stage.
Dr Addai implored prophets to direct patients to hospitals and back them with prayers in order to save their lives.
She said cancer was a global disease but the rate at which people were dying in Ghana due to ignorance was alarming and urged religious leaders to lead the fight against the needless deaths.