Ahead of his planned return to school to continue with his medical programme and subsequent continuation abroad, Ningwei Leonard Lanyeli, a former participant in the popular National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) will receive treatment for his mental health condition in South Africa.
This will be courtesy of businessman, Ibrahim Mahama who had earlier offered to pay for the treatment and education of Leonard whose dream of becoming a medical doctor was cut short after he suffered from bipolar disorder.
In a Facebook post sighted by GhanaWeb, an aide to Mr Mahama, Rafik Mahama, said Leonard, at the request of his boss had been brought from Jirapa in the Upper West Region to Accra to commence his treatment.
As part of the treatment process, Rafik revealed that Leonard will be flown to South Africa where he will undergo therapy.
“Upon the request of Mr. Ibrahim Mahama, Leonard arrived in Accra yesterday from Jirapa. He’s currently taking a rest and going through a procedure at a medical facility in East Legon. Mr. Ibrahim Mahama instructed we process Leonard for South Africa. Arrangements have been done in South Africa for him to receive special care and treatment. Processes have started for him to be flown to South Africa. That’ll be done as soon as the documentations are done in few days time."
The story of Ningwei Leonard Lanyeli
Ningwie Leonard Lanyeli attended and completed the Ganaa Memorial Junior High School, emerging as the best-performing student with an aggregate of 8.
In senior high school, St Francis Xavier Junior High Seminary, Leonard pursued General Science as a course and earned the name; ‘Dr. Ningwie Leonard Lanyeli’ from his open ambition to become a medical doctor.
With this ambition, he pushed to score 6 As in his WASSCE exams and B2, B3, and B2 in biology, English and social studies respectively, in 2007.
Not only did his final results show his academic prospects, but his participation in the National Science and Maths Quiz in 2007.
After senior high school, his dreams to move to the University of Cape Coast to read medicine were crashed when his parents told him about the difficulty in paying what was the school’s high fees at the time.
Consequently, he joined the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and technology which had relatively a more affordable fees to study as a doctor of optometry.
“I gained admission to read medicine at the University of Cape Coast at the cost of GHC4,100 a year and my father was a teacher who couldn’t afford to pay the fees, so I opted to read Optometry (Dr.) at KNUST,” he said in an interview with Joynews' Mahmud Mohammed-Nurudeen.
There also, he performed incredibly and his feats were recognized by all, in fact, he says, he was the best in his class – at least for the first four years of his course in medicine.
And then his woes began.
His 60-year-old mother, Ninwie Gladys, told Joynews that Leonard developed a mental disorder after 4 years in school, after a friend at the university took Leo to his hometown.
His family would only get to know later that the condition of their son was Bipolar Disorder 2 after he took a break from his university studies to seek medical attention at the Pantang Psychiatric Hospital in 2013.
“There is a certificate hanged in that empty room that shows that I still hold the record as the winner of spelling in Pantang Hospital when I took part in a quiz contest during my stay to get medical health. I tell people I am sensible and can teach a crowd,” Leonard said in a Joynews interview.
Leonard later returned to the university in 2014 after a successful rehabilitation and was performing well but his stay there was brief.
His mother says Leonard’s condition worsened when his father died.
Today, many of his colleagues who are now engineers and doctors talk about how brilliant Leonard was and what his potential could have been if his dreams were fully realized.
“It is disheartening seeing a young man who is very brilliant and could be very resourceful to Ghana in such a condition,” his colleague Dr. Patrick Seidu told Joynews.
Sixtus Bayaa, a former biology tutor at St. Francis Xavier Junior Seminary, described him as intelligent and could have been one of the best Scientists or Medical Doctors in Ghana if he didn’t suffer the medical condition.
Today, Leonard is 33 years old. His dreams of being a doctor may have been cut short because of his health condition but he still hopes to return to school if given another chance, albeit with different dreams – this time, he wants to go into community health nursing or teacher training.
“If I get another opportunity, I would like to go back to school again but, I just want a simple course – community health nursing or teachers training college so that I can help my colleagues. I really know how to help,” he said.
He wants, “peace” and hopes things get better.
“I respect my mother and that is a responsibility. I respect humanity and that is also a responsibility. What I expect from my family is care,” Leo continued while speaking to Joynews.
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