Relatives of a two-year-old boy who suffered severe burns after he was tortured by his step mom are struggling to raise GHS 400 ($70) required by the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), to prepare a medical report.
Without a medical report, the state cannot prosecute the suspect, 17-year-old Abena Tawiah who had been remanded into custody by the Nkawie Circuit Court.
The suspect who is a resident of Afari, a community in the Atwima Nwabiagya South District – is facing the court on a provisional charge of causing harm.
The victim (name withheld) suffered severe burns after the suspect plugged a water-heater until it reached its boiling point on the body of the victim on Saturday, November 23, 2019.
The boy was left with burns in the cheek, chin, nose and private parts. Footages that went viral on social media showed marks of physical assault all over his body as he wept in pain.
He was receiving treatment at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and has since been discharged.
Dailymailgh investigations at the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) at the Nkawie District Command has, however, revealed that the police is yet to be furnished with the report to complete their investigations.
“We are having a problem with the medical report of the child. So I am sending a letter to Komfo Anokye requesting that they should release the medical report for us”, a source at DOVVSU told Dailymailgh.
The police is also considering reaching out to the Municipal Assembly for support, the source further indicated.
When Dailymailgh contacted officials at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, they explained that the hospital cannot be held for the delay of the report, adding that it has been the standard practice for many years.
“The money is for the doctor to be able to respond to all further investigations even if he has to be present at the court to testify and so the money goes to the doctor and not the hospital”, spokesperson for KATH Kwame Frimpong said.
“This is not a medical care cost it is a medical report and it is in the armpit of the doctor”, he further clarified.
Funding by the state
Medical bills of such victims of child abuse is expected to be borne by the state, with the establishment of the Domestic Violence Support Fund.
This obligation on the state was confirmed by the Supreme Court decision in a suit brought by a legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu.
Human Rights advocates have criticised government of not doing enough to support such victims.
Like this two-year-old victim, help is yet to come from state institutions mandated to offer such assistance.
If the family is unable to secure the medical report, their pursuit of justice will be impaired as the traumatized two-year-old boy continues to struggle.
By J. Ofori, Daily Mail GH