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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Death of a woman at church and the nonsense thereafter

A 30 year old woman dies at church. The media reports it. End of story. No further questions asked and then some of the comments going around:

“She will end up in heaven because she died at church,” “Oh at least she crossed over to 2014 before she died,” “it is better that she died in a church and not a night club…”etc

Really, what in god’s name is wrong with us?

Everybody knows that watch-night services are huge ‘shows’ in Ghana. Religious events in general, for examples, crusades, all night prayers services, and gospel ‘explosions’ can attract an excessive number of people including the infirm. Yet, does nobody take emergency preparedness for crowd-intensive events seriously in Ghana. People who are ill often attend religious programs because in a country where miracles can be bought, you just want to try your luck. The downside to this is that, the potential for health/medical related emergencies on-site increases. But who cares? ‘God will save us if something happens and if God doesn’t save us, God knows best.’ “Give the person sitting close to you a hi-five and say…” We were in this country when the want for ‘anointed TB Joshua water” caused a stampede and killed four people alongside injuring 15 other persons but hey, that was all in God’s big plan for us.

Where do First Aid boxes belong? From getting a headache to passing out; these are things that can happen to anyone on any day at any place. And when you an organizer of events like watch-night services, political rallies, entertainment shows, carnivals, demonstrations… etc. You must have a risk management plan which should cater for emergency health issues. If you are planning a crowd–intensive event and you can’t afford a first aid box/room, professional health care givers, and in some cases, an ambulance, located at a clearly marked out area where the crowd can get help from if there is an emergency, you are not yet ready to be an event organizer. It doesn’t matter if you have organized 3 million events and nothing has ever happened. The same way we think to provide pastors, politicians and the whatnots with bodyguards and police escorts at events even though no one ever tries to slap them ( oh why not ah? ), we should prioritize the health care and security of the crowd. Obia ny3 obia, defused.

I don’t want to ‘take my lack of faith come spoil azonto-for-kristo,’ but is it not just common sense to take precautions and prioritize the health and safety of the masses? Okay, will you do it if I say it is the holy spirit who directed me to say this? Uhm, yeah, the holy spirit asked me, so please, when planning your next crusade, political rally, entertainment show etc, don’t only think about bodyguards and police personnel to protect the ‘big shots.’ Think about the safety of the crowd after all it is their offering you use to feed your family. It is their votes that get you the job, and it is their patronage of your music that gets you the fake bling-bling. Amen.

I am not a health care professional. I am not a risk management expert of any sort. I am just a depressed writer who thinks Ghana should start importing some common sense alongside the tooth picks we import from china despite the many bamboo trees growing in our forests.

Patience Tetteh, who knows if the church was well ventilated? May your soul Rest in Peace.


  1. I agree 100% with this post. It always shocks me that despite all the truck loads of money that Ghanaian churches & pastors are making these days, they refuse to provide their members with even a single satchet of water after services- not to talk of such emergency assistance. The pastors have bodyguards, air-conditioned offices fully furnished & cars to whisk them away if anything happens. The members have nothing.

  2. Truth right there, Nana.
    My dad, who is a pastor himself was so angered two nights ago when my uncle called to say my cousin's condition had gone critical so he was sending him to hospital.
    My dad was angry cos he had told him over and over again to take the boy to the hospital but no, what had my uncle been doing before he finally saw "the light"...he was shuffling him from one prayer camp to another.
    "Take the boy to the hospital!" my father kept telling him.
    I will not say how this ended but yes, some Christians live as if God will come down and do everything for them. If you think your illness is 'spiritual' and you believe God works through men...and some men are doctors, then what really, in god's name, is wrong with you?!
    Thanks for this.

    1. Hmmm.... if all pastor could be like your dad.

  3. Amma Konadu i applaud your comment about how some Christians think and it reminds me of that tale when a man is shipwrecked and rejects three attempts at help because he believes God will save him. So sad how religion is being manipulated. Well done Nana another great piece

    1. you are right, "so sad how religion is being manipulate." MisBeee, thanks for commenting.

  4. Well articulated. Very salient points raised, Nana. I worship at a Presbyterian church and we have a first aid box in place. We also have doctors amongst the congregation who are called in case of any emergency like a child injuring himself or an old lady taking a fall.

    About a month ago, a congregant passed out after church service. Immediately, she was roused and examined by one of the doctors, given a can of malt to drink when she informed us that she hadn't taken in any food that morning and was quickly rushed to Achimota hospital by the Senior Presbyter in his own car.

    I dare to say that we of the orthodox churches may be different.