Prime News Ghana

Features and Opinions

FEATURE: Are You Mad Or Just Schizophrenic?

On 26th July, 2015, a gentleman by name Charles Antwi caused a stir in the country when he was arrested with a loaded firearm in a church where the president of Ghana, John Mahama, worships. He subsequently confessed he had planned to assassinate the president because he thought he, Charles, and not Mr. Mahama, should have succeeded late President Mills.

The citizenry trembled at the thought of losing another sitting President. There was general concern about the potency of presidential security, but the discussion quickly switched to the mental state of Mr. Antwi, when each utterance after his arrest revealed a man operating in his own warped reality.

Sections of the Ghanaian public were quick to call him “mad”. That description is wrong, but what was being described was spot-on; Mr. Antwi was later diagnosed with a kind of psychosis, very possibly schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder in which a person interprets reality abnormally and has disordered cognitive, behavioural and emotional functioning.

The cause of schizophrenia is not known, but researchers have suggested that a family history of schizophrenia, being conceived by an elderly father, being born to a mother who was malnourished during the pregnancy, certain infections while in the womb and drug abuse are risk factors.

The major components of the presentation of schizophrenia are;

Delusions, in which the individual has an entrenched false believe of something that is not real e.g. that he is being persecuted by aliens, or that people around him can read his mind, or that he is the President of Ghana, when all these are false.

Hallucinations, in which the individual hears, sees or feels things that are not present.

Altered speech, where the person utters phrases and words that do not make sense, or cannot follow through a conversation.

Abnormal motor behavior, where the individual assumes awkward postures or makes repetitive, useless movements or stops moving entirely.

Mood disorders, where individuals have swinging moods that are sometimes difficult to understand; they are often depressed though.

Schizophrenia usually commences in the 20s and is a chronic condition that requires lifelong treatment. Treatment typically involves the use of medicines known as antipsychotics, supported by social and behavioural therapy.

Schizophrenia is a treatable condition. It is thus a mystery that half of the 21 million people who are suffering from schizophrenia around the world do not receive treatment. The ratio is much bleaker in Ghana.

The WHO considers the following to be the strategies to curb this imbalance:

appropriate training of the primary health care personnel;

provision of essential medicines;

strengthening of the families for home care;

professionals to provide support to peripheral levels, including referrals.

public education to decrease stigma and discrimination.

With the persistent bemoaning of the paucity of psychiatrists in the country, the consistent agitations from mental healthcare nurses about conditions of service, the perpetual lack of beds at our psychiatric hospitals and the incessant breaks in the supply of antipsychotics used to treat schizophrenia and other psychiatric illness, it seems Ghana has a long way to go to meet the stated requirements.

Another significant problem, which will bring a great positive change if solved, is the stigma society attaches to mental health in general and schizophrenia in particular.

In a society where a family history of mental illness disqualifies a potential suitor from being allowed to marry into a family, where one suffering a hallucinatory episode would rather be chained to a tree in the back yard than be sent for medical attention, where it is believed mental illness has a spiritual cause rather than a biological one, you realize we need more than logistics and motivated health workers to curb the problem.

We all need to help turn things around; were media houses to open up their portals more for public awareness, were teachers to demystify mental illness to the children in their care from the earliest possible age, were our religious platforms used to advocate this paradigm shift, we would be halfway through the problem. The state too must do its bit.

In recent times, we have seen the setting up of the Mental Health Authority, a great first step by the state. We must empower this authority to be more than just another office where public servants pretend to work half the day and read newspapers the other half; it must be properly resourced to implement all the laudable provisions in the mental health act, which lays a strong emphasis on public education.

Like hypertension which requires drug therapy or acute appendicitis which requires surgical management, schizophrenia is an illness which can be controlled with appropriate treatment.

Since individuals with schizophrenia are usually not aware of their abnormal mental state, it behooves family and friends to help them seek healthcare and encourage them to comply with treatment. This is why a society which mystifies mental illness and shuns those suffering it can never have its streets rid of them.

It is difficult to prevent Schizophrenia since the cause is not known, but early treatment is crucial. We cannot avoid the very occasional Charles Antwi, who attempts a ridiculous feat like single-handedly overthrowing a government, but were all schizophrenics and people with mental illness in general able to receive treatment early, we could significantly reduce the number of people walking around naked on our streets.

All psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia, can be treated; the only madness in mental health is deciding as a society not to give it the attention it deserves.


By: K.T. Nimako (MB ChB)


Dr. Kojo Nimako is a private medical practitioner with an interest in public health, and Citi FM’s Chief Medical Correspondent. He is also the editor of and the Executive Director of Helping Hand Medical Outreach, an NGO focused on health education.

Follow on Twitter: @KTNimako

Send an e-mail:

Sex Before Marriage, Damaging Effects

Discussions about whether sex before marriage is good or bad and if there exist any negative effects can be traced back to biblical times. The Holy Bible and many other holy books like the

Qur’an all admonish us to avoid sex before marriage. The Bible which describes the act as fornication even goes as far as admonishing Christians to “flee fornication”.

Again the famous “Ten Commandments” which serves as guiding principles in some of the major religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam also admonishes people to avoid sex before marriage.

This has compelled scholars, scientists and other people in academia to investigate the reasons why sex before marriage is criticized in the religious circles.

Regardless of the many benefits associated with having sex, discussions about the damaging effects of sex before marriage do not die down. Marriage can be defined as a union (legal union) between a man and a woman in which they decide to live together and share their lives together as well as have access to each other sexually.

The Legal Information Institute for example defines marriage as “…a contract based upon a voluntary private agreement by a man and a woman to become husband and wife”. Sex on the other hand refers to when men and women have intercourse. Whilst, sex before marriage, otherwise known as premarital sex, is also defined as, when two people who are not in a legally binding union (marriage), engage in sexual relations.

Many people in the world today engage in sexual intercourse regardless of whether they are married not. Several people also have multiple sexual partners irrespective of their age or marital status. In fact, sex before marriage has become so prevalent that a lot of people seem to have forgotten about the fact that there may be negative factors associated with it.

The negative effects associated with sex before marriage are not farfetched. The mere fact that two people who are not married or in any committed legal relationship sleep together pose a danger of trust after the intercourse. Collins (2014) in his article titled “How your premarital experiences can affect your future marriage” argues that,

“Individuals who had more sexual partners or more experience cohabitating ]before marriage] are not as likely to have high-quality marriages compared with those who had less, said Galena K. Rhoades”. The author posits that one’s sexual life before marriage as well as other romantic relationships is linked with the quality of one’s marriage.

This is because the people one has had romantic/sexual relations with may complicate the new marriage, also children that may have been conceived as a result of sexual intercourse will further complicate the marriage and thus inadvertently reduce the quality of the marriage.

The impact of sex before marriage on the individual does not certainly apply to one’s marriage alone. There are other problems such as the possibility of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, especially when one of the pair sleeping together has multiple partners. This view is supported by Brennen (2011) who in his article

“Why should I not have sex before marriage?” posits that, some of the negative effects of having sex before marriage include the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, the risk of getting addicted to sex, and also the negative effects of abortion and unwanted pregnancies associated with premarital sex.

Very often people who engage in premarital sex especially adolescents, find themselves in the situation where they are in a hurry to get it over with, or avoid being caught and may not take the necessary precautions to protect themselves.

Cordoso (2015) who chooses to focus on the psychological effects of premarital sex in her article “6 reasons why sex before marriage affects a relationship” argues that, there are further damaging effects associated with premarital sex beyond the physical problems. According to her, premarital “sex gives the couple intimacy at the wrong time”.

Thus, feelings of jealousy and possessiveness that arise in relationships in which the couple are engaged in premarital sex develop as a result of them having sex at the wrong time. Again, Cordoso posits that, premarital sex has damaging effects especially for women because sex to women means the woman surrendering herself totally to the man and when such acts are not reciprocated, women are left psychologically broken.

Finally, she believes people who through premarital sex get pregnant have the course of their lives changed forever even though they are not yet prepared to be mothers. People who engage in premarital sex more often than not do not engage in it out of love. They do so because of the need to satisfy a pleasure and thus make the whole act a selfish act.

This may thus further affect the partner especially if that person is doing it out of love rather than need. This can lead to several emotional problems if one partner finds out the other was not doing it out of love.

The literature above thus points to the fact that, premarital sex has several damaging effects which range from emotional and psychological problems like depression, to physical problems like contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Given that human beings are biologically programmed to want to have sex, it is difficult for one to abstain from sex before marriage in spite of the many damaging effects associated with premarital sex.

Alao (2011) in her article “Premarital Sex: Saying NO (When Your Body Wants It)”, has offered some solutions as to how to avoid premarital sex and obliterate the damaging effects in the process. Alao argues that, for one to be successful in avoiding sex before marriage, the person must first identify why they want to abstain from sex, communicate with their partner their reasons, set boundaries and avoid being alone with your partner when you cannot be interrupted.

For those who feel they cannot abstain from sex altogether too, it may be useful if they use condoms to help prevent some of the physical problems associated with premarital sex like unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

The author Albert Opare is a political science graduate from the University of Ghana and a social commentator as well as a social & political activist. You can contact the author by mail on Comments and Criticisms are welcome

Michael Oti Adjei makes the case of how Grant and his agent disrespect Ghanaians

He said it with a stone cold face and then smiled wily afterwards. Boosted by victory in a Nations Cup qualifier against Mozambique at the Accra Sports Stadium, Avram Grant knew his moment to hit back at weeks of intense scrutiny had arrived and he did not miss the chance to land his comeback punch.


This country, Grant advised, should concentrate on the football, not the bull***t. We don’t know exactly what he meant by that and we probably will never know given how well the Israeli has been protected from difficult questions in recent days.

But it is obvious why he is unhappy. Fuelled by our collective rage, we hauled him back to Accra to make trips to Dawu, Tema, Obuasi and everywhere to watch league games when he would rather have been relaxing somewhere in Europe claiming to be monitoring players.

His agent Saif Rubie, whose only interest in the affairs of Ghana football is obvious also saw the moment to hit back after that 3-1  win over Mozambique. He asked to #stoptbs and told us to #foh which means f***k out of here.

Then after Nigeria’s AFCON hopes were ended by defeat in Egypt, he saw his moment to strike again, taking the ‘clueless’ Ghana media on again for thinking qualifying for AFCON is easy. He said we should check with South Africa and Nigeria.

It is a legitimate punchline. The gloating of both Grant and his agent too have all the trappings of two ignorant men with no knowledge of the history and football context of the country whose money they are happy to take and whose job they begged for.

Grant is the highest profile coach to manage Ghana and we said that happily when he took the Ghana job. He took Chelsea to the Champions League final, Portsmouth to an FA Cup final and West Ham to relegation. Before him we had trawled Serbia for coaches who gave us world cup qualification and others who thought they could walk on water without the performance to show for it.

For all that though, Grant’s two jobs before taking up the Ghana position was in Serbia and Thailand. For a man who feels like the Ghana version of Alex Fergusson and Jose Mourinho combined that must have been spectucalar.

The painful truth that Grant and his agent don’t want to hear is this: he needed Ghana as much as Ghana needed him. If they have any shred of honesty, they would happily admit that they applied for this job, lobbied for it and did all they can to get it. It is true that Ghana had been bruised at the 2014 world cup but when Grant consistently says how he saved and rescued Ghana football, he is being economical with the truth to make himself look good.

And his own decision making in the period that he has been in the Black Stars job bares that out. If that Brazil team represented everything bad about Ghana football, then it says a lot about Grant’s judgement that he has rarely tampered with it’s composition.

Apart from Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari and Kevin Prince Boateng, the core of the team that played USA, Germany and Portugal has been in place. Grant installed Razak Braimah as number one goalkeeper and played Baba Rahman as left back more. Maybe that is what he wants us to be grateful for.

And what is this bull***t that Grant and his agent have constantly referred to? Bull***t is when you draw a salary of over $40,000 and think it is okay to be absent from your duty post for more than two months. Bull***t is when it requires two letters from your employees to report back to work after your leave. Bull***t is when you claim to be monitoring players in Europe but only say it with a one photo and a visit because we begun asking questions. Bull***t is when a day after your country’s league kicks off, you are miles away on a television station discussing another league. Bulls***t is when after all those supposed monitoring, you still call up the same set of players we can all list with our eyes closed. And bulls***t is when it is news that our national coach has watched a league game because he is a demi god.

But it is not just bull***t. It is disrespect to our collective wisdom as a country. It is even worst that after he sat down to deliver that bull***t verdict others have attempted to claim it was aimed at journalists. It was not. He was talking to an entire country that dared ask that a coach who earns more than the president of this land must treat them with the seriousness his salary requires.

Maybe we also need to organise some badly needed Ghana football lessons for Grant and his agent who has become an expert in everything Ghana overnight.

Anyone who thinks that failure of Nigeria and South Africa to qualify for AFCON 2017 highlights Ghana’s achievement in qualifying is dabbling in needless self gratification.

Maybe Grant does not know these basic facts
•    Ghana has missed only one AFCON since 1992.
•    Between 2008 till now, Ghana has reached every AFCON semi final.
•    In that period too, the country has played in two finals including the one that gives Grant the wrong impression that he is the best thing to have happened to this country.
•    South Africa has barely managed to match up to Ghana in international football so can’t use their failing to highlight the ‘achievement’ of qualifying
•    And Nigeria have won two AFCONS since we last won one. They did as recently as 2013. Morale of the story; it is not just about qualifying, it is about winning.

If reminding Grant of all this bulls***t, then we will dabble in a lot of it. If telling him we don’t want a coach who goes on long holidays disguised as monitoring, then we will happily talk about that.

Kwesi Nyantekyie has done an incredible lot to position this country as a major force in African football by providing the base for regular world cup appearances and Nations Cup participation. The coaches have done well and so have many of their players.

But down to the last man, they know what this country craves. This country wants another Nations Cup title not glorious penalty defeats so it is pointless boasting about one. The players know this, the managers know this.

Grant, it seems is the last man to understand that. So he can complain all he waants. We will remind him that in the country that was coached by C.K Gyamfi and aided to global recognition recently by Ratomir Dujkovic and Milovan Rajevac, he has done nothing yet.

Prez Mahama’s Scotland visit, Gay bashing claims & Jon Benjamin’s intervention

Another attempt to divert attention from an event that should project the image of Ghana has been foiled. This time it took the intervention of British High Commissioner, Jon Benjamin. “The way the issue has been reported is a bit exaggerated and overstated. The gay issue came up but I can’t give you details, it was one of many issues that was discussed. President Mahama spoke in a large reception room which was full. From what I saw, everyone applauded President. I think we are spending much time on what was a non-issue at all,” he told Starr FM’s Morning Show Host, Nii Arday Clegg.

Stan Dogbe: The power behind the power writes Ebo Quansah

It is the sign of the times that the government’s own brochure for the celebration of 59 years of nationhood failed to recognise Mr. John Dramani Mahama as leader of this nation, and instead, conferred the title of President of the Republic of Ghana on Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, the Kenyan Head of State who was invited as Guest of Honour at this year’s Independence Day celebration.

Elizabeth Ohene: Is this government a mistake?

I know what it is like to publish a mistake. Since I count having been an editor as part of how I earned a living, I know what it is like for a mistake of one kind or an other to escape everyone along the production line and you end up looking very foolish when the publication comes out.

Ghana’s theater thriving but there remains challenges - Kobina Ansah

Times change. Trends change, too. Theatre, just like every other art, has evolved. In Ghana, theatre has evolved from a ‘lower-class’ entertainment to one that lately catches everyone’s attention; from lower class, through to the middle class and even to the highest class of people in society.

Tiger Eye cannot violate Article 146(8), By Prof Kwaku Asare

In a per incuriam (i.e., careless) unanimous decision, the Supreme Court has held that "even though Tiger Eye PI did violate article 146 clause 8 of the 1992 constitution, it does not mean that the constitutional process to inquire into the petition should be declared null and void."

How to Plan an affordable Ghana Vacation

Just imagining the cost of a Vacation to Ghana is enough to cause a nervous breakdown. The Country’s Mesmerizing beaches, Luxurious hotels, Landmarks, Reserves and Public parks don’t depict cheap. The average tourist’s orientation of a Ghana vacation makes it seem like it beyond their reach.