The Chronicle Gambia

Medical Doctor Labels Jammeh and Abettors as Fraudsters in ‘Elusive’ HIV Cure

A seasoned Gambian medical doctor, Adama Amadou Sallah, has described Gambia’s former president Yahya Jammeh’s HIV/Aids curing as “indescribable”. Dr Sallah has also reckoned Jammeh and senior government officials who aided and abetted him in the treatment as fraudsters.

Jammeh unexpectedly shocked the world in 2007 when he declared his ability to cure the killer virus along with other diseases such as hypertension, asthma and infertility. He was openly, defiantly and consistently endorsed by his then Minister of Health, Tamsir Mbowe who is also a medical doctor by profession. Many medical experts, including those in the international community, disproved Jammeh’s ability to cure the virus.

For the past months, the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) has been probing the treatment program and how it caused irreparable damage to patients who had switched from the conventional treatment done by the Medical Research Council (MRC) at the time. It led to the death of many patients while aggravated the condition of others including those testified before the commission.

On Monday, the Commission held a hearing for Dr. Sallah to give an expert opinion on the treatment program. He unequivocally said it was unlawful. “Jammeh had no certified training in the practice of medicine…So, practicing in a manner which endangers people’s lives and health, to me, by all definitions is unlawful, and if you look at the Act which is the law, it condemns such kind of behaviour. So, in a nutshell what he was doing is unlawful and anyone who aided and abetted in what he was doing was also carrying unlawful activity. And professionally it constitutes an objectionable behaviour that is not compatible with what the profession expects from any practitioner.

Dr. Sallah believes the profession is duty-bound to distance itself from any trained medical doctor who shows incompetent and unethical behaviour, adding that HIV/Aids can only be controlled and cannot be cured.

“If the patient is given the impression that he or she is going away, being cured is a very risky business because the patient will refrain from taking any further medication, which means you have created an obvious down-hill course for the patient in terms of this particular disease. It will of course ultimately result in death sooner or later,” Sallah, who’s the proprietor of Lamtoro Clinic told the TRRC.

Gambian medical doctor, Adama Amadou Sallah at the TRRC

He described the actors including the former president and those who aided and abetted him to have engaged in fraudulent and negligent representation.

“We are trained in such a way that we should be equipped with sufficient knowledge of what we are doing. So, we should not be dependent on outside interference from people who are not medically seasoned. So, under no circumstance should a non-medical professional interfere in your medical interventions. Even in the event you need guidance or advice, you should seek it from senior professional colleagues or people who have more knowledge and experience in that particular area of medicine.” 

According to Dr. Sallah, the treatment program should have been a subject of control by the Director of Health Services and by extension, the Minister. He described the Minister’s participation in the program as a conflict of interest as the two functions are incompatible.

“In my quiet moments, I have tried to sort of figure out why somebody like the former president Jammeh wanted to embark on such an endeavour. You had all the power, you had all the recognition and you had all the control and from what we were told, he even had a significant amount of money. So, my only conclusion was he tried to further mystify himself because he got to a point where I think he wanted Gambians to believe that he was somewhat supernatural, I think. 

Dr. Sallah believes that Jammeh understood the psychology of the average Gambian, which he used to advance himself.


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