The World's Worst Place to be Disabled?, BBC1 - TV review: A horrific, if patronising, insight into Ghana's treatment of disabled people

The documentary relied too much on presenter Sophie Murray’s own reactions to reach its apparently objective conclusion

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The Independent Culture

The title implied an element of doubt about whether it is ever possible to brand a country "the worst place in the world to be disabled", but presenter Sophie Morgan didn't seem to share the same degree of uncertainty when it came to Ghana.

After following the life of a wheelchair user in Accra for a day, visiting a handful of prayer camps for the disabled and meeting Ghanian man Frances, who had been kept on bed rest for 15 years, she declared to the government health minister: "In my opinion, I think Ghana is the worst place in the world to be disabled." Never mind that we never found out how many other countries Morgan, who was paralysed from the waist down after being involved in a car crash 12 years ago, has visited.

That is not to deny the horrific treatment of disabled people the documentary exposed, in particular inside a Muslim prayer camp run by the suspicious figure Madame Irene. Scenes of a a mentally ill man, Sheriff, chained up by his foot and of a young girl with epilepsy screaming while being forced to drink a herbal mixture made for uncomfortable viewing. As was the moment Morgan was led to the banks of a river and told it was the place where disabled babies were "got rid of".

But at times Morgan's moralising seemed patronising and, at worst, imperial. A 30-year-old woman from East Sussex was never going to change hundreds of years of deep-seated beliefs, no matter how sternly she told off the Fetish Priest for "seeing off" disabled children. The documentary made no attempts to explain Ghanian rituals, assuming cultural superiority from the get-go.

Unsurprisingly, The World's Worst Place to Be Disabled? was originally commissioned for BBC3. Like so many of the channel's Stacey Dooley-fronted shows, it relied too heavily on Morgan's own experiences and reactions to reach an objective conclusion

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