Gambia: TRRC Holds Jammeh HIV/AIDS Treatment Program Accountable

In its report recently submitted to President Adama Barrow, the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) held former President Yahya Jammeh and his doctors responsible for the deaths of forty-one HIV/AIDS patients, during his self-proclaimed 2007 presidential alternative. Treatment program (PATP).

In its report, the TRRC stated that PATP resulted in the death of many patients (HIV/AIDS) during and after treatment, and that the Commission was able to establish 41 deaths as a result of the treatment program.

According to the Commission, all the witnesses who took part in the treatment disclosed that their health deteriorated significantly after consuming the concoctions given to them, adding that after drinking the concoctions, former President Jammeh questioned them about the color of their excrement, which the TRRC found very degrading.

“If the color was yellow then it was normal and if it was green it was a problem. They were forced to admit they were cured by Yahya Jammeh’s concoctions when in truth they participated in the hoax to protect themselves from being victimized,” the Truth Commission explained.

He also said that one of the witnesses recounted the circumstances that led to the death of a patient, Fatou Ceesay, claiming that Fatou was practically dragged and taken to the hospital’s isolation unit, where she subsequently died.

The witness referred to here as MC73, further testified that before her death, Fatou was still dragged into the seclusion room and left there for dead, even after repeatedly telling them she was fine. adding that as such, the witness said he felt he had no choice but to lie about the success of the treatment. The witness said he did this to save himself as he was convinced his life would be in danger if he said anything wrong or contrary to what Yahya Jammeh wanted to hear, the report says. the TRRC.

The TRRC report continues: “It was revealed to the Commission by witness MC73 that approximately 15 patients died during PATP and he (the witness) mentioned a few examples such as a Dampha, a very inspiring man and industrious, a Sarahuleh (a tribe from Gambia), who was a very successful businesswoman and Fatou Ceesay, who was brutally abused and treated inhumanely, as mentioned earlier.”

The report indicates that Fatou Jatta, another witness, also testified before the Commission that many people died as a result of the treatment; stating that from Exhibit 146, she (witness) identified Persons 1-7 as persons who died during the treatment program and Persons 8-9 as persons who died immediately after the treatment program. He also added that Dr. Tamsir Mbowe, Dr. Malick Njie, Dr. Mariatou Jallow and the laboratory technicians were invited to testify before the Commission to increase their understanding of the program, its operation and its results.

Meanwhile, the Truth Commission has also recommended that former President Jammeh, Dr. Tamsir Mbowe and others be tried for intentionally causing the death of people living with HIV/AIDS and other inhuman treatment.

During his interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), former President Jammeh told the BBC the following statement about his ability to cure disease: “I can treat asthma and HIV/AIDS. three days the person should be tested again and I can tell you that he/she will be negative I am not a wizard and in fact you cannot have a wizard You are either a wizard or a doctor .

“In his self-proclaimed treatment program, former President Jammeh wanted to be a doctor because he felt there was something missing in his life and wanted some self-esteem. Also, he (Jammeh) was trying to build his legitimacy presenting themselves as having mystical powers and the ability to treat conditions that others could not,” the Truth Commission reported.

The TRRC report further shows that Jammeh disregarded the seriousness of the disease and continued to administer his fraudulent treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS, with little or no opposition because the treatment was associated with the incredible power and influence he had as the nation’s president.

On top of that, the Commission said Jammeh got rid of anyone who dared raise an eyebrow at what he was doing; citing

Ms. Fadzai Gwaradzimba, a UN representative, who was given 48 hours to leave Gambian soil as a persona non grata, for saying that “claims for AIDS cures could encourage people with disease to engage in risky behaviors and make the AIDS problem in Africa worse,” adding that

In her comment, the UN representative did not directly mention Jammeh’s recovery, but the dictator saw it as a threat or a challenge to his treatment program and therefore made him leave the country immediately.

“It sent a strong message that no one should dare to question or criticize his HIV/AIDS cure program. Jammeh asked ten HIV-positive patients from Santa Yallah Group, a support group for people living with HIV, to administer his unfounded and scientifically unproven treatment to them,” the report states; adding then Minister of Health Dr. Tamsir Mbowe supported Jammeh’s HIV/AIDS cure and was described as the cruellest doctor who helped Jammeh murder AIDS patients.The report further states that in November 2007, Dr Mbowe was removed from his post as Minister of Health, as stated in a statement released in November 2007 by the Office of the President Mr Mbowe, who until then had been Jammeh’s right arm in his continued discovery of a cure for AIDS, adding that Dr Mbowe, a doctor trained in Russia, had been a strong supporter of the discovery of healing n of former President Jammeh’s AIDS.

The report says the sacked minister had previously claimed that the Gambian President has the ability to cure HIV/AIDS, but his sacking came as a big surprise to many in the country as no reason was publicly given for his removal. dismissal. Dr Mbowe was a doctor at the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital for a few years, but his professional ethics were put in jeopardy when he openly supported former President Jammeh’s claims that he had cured AIDS.

The report says that many believe the sacked minister betrayed medical ethics by stooping so low to justify Jammeh’s false claims of an AIDS cure.

While he was health minister, Dr Mbowe told the BBC that herbal medicines are taken orally and applied to the body.

“We can’t actually tell you what kind of herbs we are using now. It will be known to the world later,” Dr Mbowe told the BBC.

Unfortunately, for too long, the absence of local and international opposition to Yahya Jammeh’s alleged claims has allowed him to continue to lead a health dictatorship in a political environment lacking in protective mechanisms for people living with HIV.

Jammeh’s AIDS program could be described as a health dictatorship that resulted in the violation of patients’ rights to health and other human rights, as discussed below.

“It amounts to a complete disregard for medical ethics, including denial of full disclosure and PATP treatment information. It has also undermined patient autonomy and confidentiality,” the Commission said. .

In addition, the Truth Commission said Jammeh had created an atmosphere of fear that intimidated health workers and political personnel working on HIV, thus affecting the quality of health care services for people living with HIV. .

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