Thursday, July 13, 2023

Kuchu Mental Health in Africa; The Failure of Africa’s Medics & Health Care Workers (1)

The mental health of the African Kuchu.

I have been commenting, on and off, that we kuchus are damaged individuals. Of course we are. We are human beings that develop from childhood and live in particularly hostile environments in Africa.
We would be angels, if we were not damaged and didn’t decompensate, in order to survive, as Kuchu (LGBTQ+) in Africa. And, we are alive…!

Our mental health doesn’t seem to be that important, sincerely speaking. When it is put up against the needs for survival in Africa, it comes up a losing second.
Which is simply us being blinded. Our mental health matters tremendously. We don’t seem to know it. And, crucially, we Kuchus, we LGBTQ+ Africans are being continuously failed by our own African ‘elite’, the medical doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists who should know quite a bit better.

Here is a poignant example of what is happening on the continent of Africa. This was in Accra, Ghana. But, it could have been anywhere on the continent of Africa.

There is an anti-homosexuality bill in the Parliament of Ghana. And of course that brings up debate in the country, on the airwaves, radio and TV. A prominent psychologist in the country was invited to give his comments. And, to say the least, they are devastating.


Senior Psychologist, Professor Joseph Osafo

“Contributing to Peace FM's "Kokrokoo" show, Professor Joseph Osafo stated emphatically that he fully supports the bill,”

“As a Pastor, I support the bill but as a clinician, let's reassess it and work on the parts that won't help us because if we are not careful and we pass the bill to a certain level, there may be some people who genuinely need help" but, due to the bill, may face prosecution, he stated.”

“"I have worked as a suicidologist within the Ghanaian context and the African context. Africa now is leading in suicidality. It is the youngest continent. Our infrastructure, health infrastructure is down; it is not the best . . .””


There is a total lack of appreciation, understanding and empathy on the part of the Seniour Psychologist that the psychology of the individual, the Ghanaian kuchu, is going to be devastatingly affected by this anti-LGBTQ+ bill.

This psychologist has an awareness of that we kuchus are prone to suicide. Yet he is in total support of a bill that criminalises and imprisons us. For simply being kuchu. Begs the question, how much conversation has happened between this psychologist and his Kuchu patients?

Instead of the Proffesor and Psychologist tackling a prominent, un-equivocal source of stress for his patients, he wants to meet them when they have survived a suicide attempt? He is throwing his weight behind a bill that criminalises his patients and his only worry is that the bill might also stop them clients from coming to him?
A skewed sense of priorities, dear Proffessor Pastor Joseph Osafo. A skewed sense of priorities.

Crucially, an ethical problem that seems to challenge African health proffesionals, when there is a clash between their faith and the health of their patient and client, their faith wins all the time, even when their clients’ faith might differ from theirs.
What the hell happened to the vaunted ethics of the Hippocratic Oath? The ‘service to all’ ethic of the medical and health proffesions? It fails in Africa.
Please note that the discussant is A SENIOUR PSYCHOLOGIST AND PROFFESOR. A teacher.


“"As a Pastor, I support the bill but as a clinician, let's reassess it”


See, the big problem is, Pastor Proffesor Joseph Osafo, that as you waffle and try to qualify your support, your patients and clients are listening to you.., future and current. And past, even the suicidal ones. They are all listening, to your tone, your words, your faith, and your clinical expertise all.

That is pretty depressing. Yes, it depresses me that our so called elite in Africa, the educated few, who are supposed to bear the burden for most of us, when they fall so far from at least a basic understanding of their proffesions.
I am not a psychologist. But, even my poor understanding of psychology tells me there is something wrong here.

But, it is important to appreciate that our mental health issues not unique, they are known and appreciated (outside Africa, which is a challenge, but at least we can outsource the knowledge).
Kuchus have to appreciate that we are prone to something as insidious as suicide in our communities, we kuchus (LGBTQ+ Africans). Suicide is a major problem, which even that benighted Proffesor seems to acknowledge. But, the root problem, the one at the bottom most of the time is our internalised homophobia.

And treatment? Or prevention?

Well, Dr Muniini-Mulera had some insights.


“What we know is that homosexuality is not due to troubled family relationships, or “recruitment.” We also know that homosexuality is not “curable” through conversion or reparative therapy.

First, you do not cure a non-disease. Second, conversion therapy is based on an unscientific assumption that people with a non-traditional sexual orientation, such as homosexuals, are psychologically damaged and that changing their sexual orientation will benefit not only the individual but also society”


Important points above, very important background, the current science that is denied to us, Kuchus in Africa. But, beyond that, what should we expect from our therapists, psychologists, medical doctors and health care providers? Muniini Mulera again.


“Medical doctors are called to serve in a respectful, unbiased, open-minded, and non-judgemental way. To professionally sound medical doctors, it does not matter that the patient presents with a lifestyle that conflicts with their personal values. They treat homosexual people and their families with respect and empathy, employing evidence-based tools to improve their health.”


Which is very good. You don’t campaign to have us be put in prison, and then expect us to tell you all our secrets as human beings. Sincerely, isn’t that common sense?

The standard to aspire to is called ‘affirming care, or affirmative psycho-therapy’.

And surely even the poor, uneducated, kuchu in ‘Uganda the Village’ and ‘Ghana the Village’, should expect at the very least, that bit of professionalism from their doctor and health care giver?



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