By Yankuba Jallow
Dr Tamsir Mbowe, an erstwhile Minister of Health on Wednesday, 21st October 2020 said former President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh’s alternative treatment programme was not fraudulent as it used to cure HIV/AIDS.
“Jammeh came with medicine that has the potential to eliminate the virus,” the doctor said.
Dr Mbowe was the director general of the President’s Alternative Treatment Programme (PATP).
“Yahya Jammeh’s treatment cures HIV/AIDS. Yahya Jammeh cures HIV/AIDS,” Dr Mbowe said.
Scientists all over the world are with the view there is no cure for the virus (HIV/AIDS). In January 2007, ex-President Jammeh announced that he has the cure for HIV/AIDS and begun his alternative treatment programme (PATP). TRRC invited some expert witnesses who all stated HIV/AIDS has no cure.
“He [Jammeh] cured them 100%,” the witness said, adding he relied on the laboratory test result, the CD4 and viral load counts.
Contrary to the view of the majority of the medical practitioners and scientists, Dr Mbowe said it is wrong to say there is no cure for HIV/AIDS.
“The ARV prevents the virus from replicating but Jammeh has the cure,” Dr Mbowe said.
The ex-Minister said former President Jammeh was using 7 to 20 different medications. He said PATP lasted for ten years.
Dr Mbowe referred the Commission to contact the laboratories outside the country to verify the records.
The medical practitioner said the terminologies ‘cure’ and ‘eliminate’ are interchangeable – meaning the virus is remove from the person.
Dr Mbowe said he did not participate in identifying any of the laboratories outside the country where the tests for the viral load and CD4 were done.
He said for the first batch, the test was done in Senegal. He explained that he received a phone call from Abdoulie Batchilly from Dakar that some of the patients were undetectable and he relayed the information to former President Jammeh. He said the results were signed by Professor Dr. Mboob in Senegal.
He said whenever the results come from outside the country he used to hand them over to former President Jammeh.
“All documents were handed to [ex-President] Jammeh,” the witness said.
A video was played showing the witness making announcement of the results from Sheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal.
“Do you have a scientific base?” Counsel Essa Faal asked.
“We have a scientific base. It is based on their clinical data,” the witness said.
He said ‘undetectable’ means the person does not have the virus which translates the person has been cured. He said HIV/AIDS weakens one’s immune system and it replicates in human body, attack cells and take control of the body. He added that as a result of weak immune system that the virus causes, it gives other diseases opportunity to take charge of the person.
He said none of the patients’ sexual organs were touched by anyone contrary to what the patients claimed.
“When the virus is no more, it means he cured them and once you don’t have the virus you are cured,” the witness said.
We had the treatment that has the potential to eliminate the virus from the human body.
“Dr Mbowe this programme was fraudulent,” Counsel Faal said.
“This programme was true. We have the medicine which has the potential to cure HIV/AIDS based on the viral loads,” Dr Mbowe said.
“You based your test results on CD4 counts, viral load and clinical data,” Counsel Faal said.
“Yes,” Dr Mbowe said.
The medical doctor said none of the patients died while undergoing the treatment programme.
“I have never signed any death certificate for any of the patients. Four or five die at the Sanatorium in Banjul as a result of tuberculosis and one died of cardinal problem. All this happened after the treatment programme,” the witness said.
He added: “No patient has ever died in the 10 years of the programme.”
He explained that HIV/AIDS weakens the immune system and causes other diseases to kill the person.
Counsel Faal put it to the witness that there are people who are still struggling with HIV/AIDS contrary to Jammeh’s claim. Mbowe in response said those people the Counsel mentioned were never discharged by the ex-head of state because they were all having the viral loads.
“Jammeh discharged only patients with undetectable viral loads,” the witness said.
He said the patients were discharged based on the information provided by the report of the laboratory tests.
“I don’t work at the laboratory. Let the Gambia Government or the TRRC go to Egypt or Senegal to verify,” Dr Mbowe said.
He said medicine is the restoration of the sick to health whether conventional or traditional.