EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: The first batch of patients lured into Gambia’s exiled former president Yahya Jammeh’s cure for HIV AIDS have called on the medical fraternity to arrest two former health and social welfare ministers for giving clear bill of health to a ‘fraudulent treatment.’
In a letter to The Gambia Medical and Dental Council, the victims said that both Malick Njie, health minister at the time, and Dr Tamsir Mbowe, a senior medical practitioner and former minister had lied and forced them into the hoax HIV treatment.
In 2007, former president Jammeh declared that he could cure HIV with herbal concoction. He established a treatment programme for the cure of HIV and other diseases.
Thanks to campaigns led by the two medical doctors, Mbowe and Njie, hundreds of patients across Gambia and the sub region were featured in the treatment that was televised on the national broadcaster.
The patients described the treatment as “cruel experiment” that led to a deterioration in their health and the death of many others who were enrolled into the programme.
The team has given authority to AIDS-Free World, the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, and the Law Firm of veteran lawyer Antouman AB Gaye and co, to represent them on the call for revocation of license of Mbowe and Njie and for disciplinary measures.
“[We] urge the disciplinary council to revoke the license of Dr Njie and forbid him from practicing medicine in The Gambia for his role in the PATP to serve as a punishment for what he did to prop up and promote a harmful and unproven cure.”
They said Dr Njie infringed their right to privacy by allowing the publicity of their ‘half naked’ bodies in the media. “More so as PLHIV, Dr Njie told us that we should not cover our bodies during the filming of treatment sessions, assuring us that the footage would not be broadcast publicly. Later we discovered that Njie had lied to us, when the footage of our half naked bodies was broadcast on the GRTS, and stream across the world on various international news outlets.”
They said Dr Mbowe continued to mislead them by publicly falsifying their CD4 count results and asserting that due to Jammeh’s treatment, their health was improving. He claimed to obtain independent laboratory test from Seikh Anta Diop Hospital in Senegal.
The patients recalled that they had autonomy, and no choice than taking the herbal concoction.
“As persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV), we were taken advantage of because of our status and subjected to inadequate, insufficient care under the authority of a practitioner[s] whose sole duty it is to ensure the welfare of his patients.”