Monday, April 08, 2013

Woo-woo cures

Gambian dictator, Yahya Jammeh, continues to insist that he has a cure for HIV/AIDS. While people might think he is a lunatic and that his claims are bizzare and should be ignored, many sick people in Gambia take him seriously. They go to the state house to receive “free treatment"with no proof of efficacy or effectiveness from his ‘Excellency’.

Jammeh, who came to power in 1996 through a military coup, has repeatedly declared that he could cure HIV/AIDS and asthma using natural herbs with some banana and peanuts and by reciting prayers and some verses from the Koran. He has refused to reveal the ingredients he used in preparing some of the concoction. Jammeh had no medical training. He claimed to have inherited the “healing power” from his father. There is no evidence that Jammeh has inherited any form of healing power from anybody. He is a quack taking advantage of the situation of poverty, disease and poor medical care in his country. During his ‘healing session’, he carries a copy of the Koran and his muslim beads to attempt to give the process some legitimacy and credibility in the eyes of the majority muslim population in the country.

Jammeh’s cure claims have been dismissed by medical experts globally. And many people are particularly concerned that Jammeh’s reckless and irresponsible cure claims could undermine efforts to combat the AIDS pandemic in Gambia and in other parts of the region. It is difficult to know the number of people who must have died since Jammeh came out and started administering his unsubstantiated and quack cure claims.

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