African women
File photo: More than 700 women in Africa have been conned into thinking they were pregnant. Getty/Natalie Behring-Chisholm

More than 700 women in west Africa have been conned out of their meagre wages after a faith healer tricked them with promises that she would help them get pregnant.

N'na Fanta Camara, a faith healer in Guinea, West Africa, has been arrested for feeding the woman concoctions that would make their stomach's swell and give the appearance that they were carrying a child.

The BBC is reporting that the women would pay £24 (in a country where the minimum monthly wage is around £35) for the miracle pregnancy concoction made up of leaves, herbs and unnamed medicines. 47 of them have suffered irreversible health problems from ingesting the mix.

Some women developed swollen stomachs and were "pregnant" for up to 16 months. Camara assured them that everything was normal and that they had no need to see a doctor.

One victim told the BBC: "During our first visit, she gave us some medicines of leaves and herbs that made us vomit. She assured us that this was good for us.

"As one continues to take these medicines, the stomach starts to rise a bit. After a while, we visited again, she examined us by just touching our bellies and she declared us pregnant."

Camara has denied any wrongdoing and said she was "only trying to help". She is expected to be charged with endangering other people's lives. Two hundred women gathered outside her holding cell in Conakry, the Guinean capital.

"I work very hard to help [the women] realise their dream but the rest is in the hands of God," Camara told reporters in Conakry.