Acid attack victims mostly women- Burns Doctor

About 10 acid attack cases are received annually at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and majority of the victims are women. This is according to Director of National Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Burns Centre at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Dr Opoku Ware Ampomah.

Speaking to JoyNews, Dr Ampomah explained that the Burns Centre has had on average eight to ten cases of acid or chemical related injuries over the last two years.

More than 90 percent of these cases, he said, were from assaults and “usually from relationships that have gone bad”.

Dr Ampomah revealed that majority of the cases reported have tended to be women and that two cases have already been reported this year.

The number of cases fluctuate, he said, and the number of cases could actually be higher, as cases referred to the Centre are usually severe ones. Cases deemed to be less severe may not pass though the centre.

  Cultural attitude
Dr Ampomah was of the opinion that these attacks are a reflection of the larger society where men are engaged in a power play with the women in their lives.

‘Some men feel that when they have a woman, the woman is their property so they can do whatever they want to” he opined.

This power play, he said, is what leads to men beating their women, as well as other assaults.

The acid attacks are therefore a “reflection of the wider problem”.

  Devastating effects.
Acid attacks visit terrible consequences to victims.

When thrown in the face, the acid not only damages the skin but when in contact with the eye, the resulting scars mean a permanent loss in eyesight.

In some situations, he said, victims have passed away due to the severity of their injuries. Inhalation of the chemicals and or their fumes are deadly and in some cases the chemicals burn through layers of skin and can attack vital organs. For instance, burns to the throat can prevent victims from eating or breathing and lead to their demise.

Dr Ampomah recalled that some victims sent to the unit in the past did not survive their injuries.

  Easy to come by
Contrary to popular belief, acid is not that difficult to come by. Indeed, acid and other corrosive chemicals can easily be obtained in Ghana, beginning with mechanic shops who have easy access to battery acid.

Listen to Dr Ampomah below:
Dr Ampomah’s statement comes after reports of a 22-year old woman, Anita Otema was attacked with acid by her boyfriend, following an alleged accusation by a pastor that she was responsible for his frequent ailments.

Anita received severe burns to her face, torso, arms and thighs following the vicious attack. Her left eye, doctors say, will never function again.

Her attacker, has escaped arrest and is still being sought by authorities. 

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