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Why racism is a religious health care issue

Medical Missionaries Touching Ghana with the Love of Christ?
Close-up of black devil statue commissioned by the Catholic parish in Ghana.
Archangel Michael standing on the head and genitals of the black devil.

Controversial White Archangel Michael and Black Devil Statue in Ghana. Tepa is a small town and is the capital of Ahafo Ano North, a district in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, the Catholic Church in Ghana is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the pope in Rome.

There are three million Catholics in Ghana, which is around 13 percent. Tepa grotto garden falls under the leadership of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kumasi Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga.

GhanaWeb interviewed some church members who explained why the statue should not be described as racist. An ardent member of the Church defends that color does not matter when issues of religion are being discussed as faith is colorless and emphasized that whether black or white, it should not be interpreted as racism. 

“In my opinion, it’s not a racist statue. I see this statue as a projection of an angel and the devil and that’s all I see… I don’t really care about the color because the color will not take us to heaven it’s just the faith that we have which is colorless. A believer who sees this image and is climbing the mountain to pray understands this perfectly well without thinking of racism,” he stated. 

Others believe that if the color does not matter then the Roman Catholic in Tepa Ghana should have no issue painting Michael, the white angel black and Satan the black devil as white. Still, others believe the reversal of colors will not satisfy the issue of whites believing they are superior to black Africans and religion is a tool used to continue to enslave the African mind. 

Christianity and colonialism are often closely associated because Catholicism and Protestantism were the religions of the European colonial powers. Why did enslaved Africans embrace the religion of their captors? Christianity as a tool of oppression is a question on the young minds of Africans. 

In his 1984 book Missions Heralds of Capitalism or Christ? on page 135 evangelist Jan Boer argues that for evangelicals, particularly those involved in the Sudan United Mission and colonialism evangelical ventures, social projects generally served as bait for opportunities to evangelize verbally to the native African population.

Medical Missionaries and Healthcare in Ghana
Medical Missionaries and Healthcare in Ghana

Medical Missionaries and Healthcare in Ghana.  Some believe religion and the bible was used as a tool of colonization and is being used as a medical, political and social tool in Africa. The bible continues to be used to justify the actions of the colonizers and the current population of some medical missionaries in Africa. 

Health care organizations belonging to various Christian Non-governmental groups or NGO's located in the rural areas Ghana provide for the majority of Ghana national health care needs. The umbrella organization of which the various mission hospitals, clinics, and facilities are members of is known as the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG). 

According to its website, “CHAG is a Network organization of 302 health facilities and health training institutions owned by 25 different Christian Church Denominations." The Roman Catholic Church whose garden the White Archangel Michael and Black Devil Statue stands funds and manages many clinics in rural Ghana. 

A message from the director Peter K. Yeboah states, “CHAG exists primarily to promote the development and sustainability of Church Health Services anytime, anywhere, and everywhere the need beckons. Over the years, CHAG has kept faith with the people of Ghana and beyond, providing holistic health services in line with our mandate of promoting Jesus Christ’s healing ministry… As the second-largest provider of health services in Ghana, CHAG offers a significant level of hope for all generations unborn, children, young, mothers, adult, the aged and the vulnerable groups in the society. " 

In 2003, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was created to provide financial access to quality basic health care for residents in Ghana, adopting free maternal care in 2008 and free mental health care services in 2012. 

However, urban populations and richer households are more likely to have a valid NHIS card than rural and poorer households who rely more on CHAG. In Ghana, most health care is provided by the government and is largely administered by the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Services or GHS.

Christian Health Association of Ghana or CHAG is the second largest. The GHS, the main provider, has an Institutional Care Division with a Quality Assurance Department in charge of quality assurance and patient safety. CHAG, the second-largest provider has its own quality assurance and patient safety program. 

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