By A Staff Writer

Even though he has not been certified as a Medical doctor,Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh is these days running outpatient clinics at the nation’s main hospital, the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital.To the surprise of local doctors,Nurses and other health officials,the President stormed ward to ward trying to cure terminally ill patients. He gave them “unapproved African chams” in a bid to cure them. These chams are not fit for human consumption. But the President insists on supplying them to patients. Mr.Jammeh who claimed to be a spiritual heeler was accompanied by top government officials, militants and the local media. The President brags that he can make the lame to work, the blind to see and patients who had talking problem to talk. Business was disrupted at the RVTH, as surgeon, Nurses and local staff suspended their work to witness Mr.Jammeh’s new “cure on the spot” so called magical spirit. Some patients who consumed the Presidential “chams” suffered bad reaction from their system as some could be seen vomiting. A local doctor who has been working at the hospital for more than two decades said left with him alone, the said “chams” must be exposed to clinical test before they are given to the patients.

The doctor who wished to be named said”It’s risky for these patients to be given such chams without the consent of their loved ones. What the President did was dangerous. We can be sued, in the event anything happened to these patients. Some of the patients had no choice but to drink the chams given to them by the President.Throughout, my practice as a doctor, I have never seen this type of “chams.” It smells bad. I would not recommend it for public consumption, unless it’s approved by certified laboratories. This is my position.” said the doctor.

President Yahya Jammeh earlier told his followers that he was born with such spiritual knowledge and vows to treat more patients in days to come. If all plans goes well, said the President, HIV patients too would be cured in the near future. Doctors who accompanied the President at Sir Adrew Right ward known as “Harryalla” there and then started watching the President with keen interest. An official of the Jammeh delegation who spoke to me said”I’m concerned about the President’s IQS. How can he cure aids when Scientists could not find a cure for it? Something is wrong with this man. I will not advise my relatives or any Gambian to use this faked drugs. It’s unsafe to use it.”

This is not the first time that the Gambian leader has been trying to cure Gambians. In 2005, he stormed the streets of Banjul supplying chams to people.

Addressing doctors President Jammeh said”There is no distinction between the Qur’an and traditional medicine. Traditional medicine is purely the use of herbs. And every herb that is of medicinal value is mentioned in the Qur’an. You will also realize that there some people call marabouts, who use the Qur’an to write something, wash it and give it to the person to drink. So that’s the link. And for any verse that you can use in the Qur’an for healing, there is a tree in the forest that you can use if you cannot use the Qur’an. So if you can use the Qur’an and the tree itself, it makes it simple. You are invoking the name of Almighty Allah. And Allah has said that there are so many things that we can do. There are so many things that are hidden from us.”

To many here the President is on the verge of experiencing full blown madness. His own delegation could be heard saying “HE is going mad. How can he cure people when his own mother is on bed suffering from heart problem? I can only be convinced about his spiritual gift he cures his own family.”said a member of his delegation.

President Jammeh then claimed that he is more experienced that the country’s trained doctors. He said what he can do medically, they cannot do it. The President said within a time Gambians would know what he is talking about.”What is important is that it my concoction and my knowledge. It is a natural knowledge for me, which is based on the Qur’an. These are basically plants. I have the title of doctor. In fact, I am a stronger doctor than them, because I use the name of Allah and the Qur’an.”

The President also said that before he cures patients he first evaluate them to see if he can treat them. He told doctors that he has his own means to cure patients.”I don’t  just go and cure a patient.There are signs I look for and I use the Qur’an.” said President Jammeh.

Gambia’s President is being criticized in some quarters of being unschooled when it comes to Islam. Many doubted  his religious knowledge, which came into the limelight when he forcefully toppled the 30 years Jawara rule. Jammeh was raised by a Catholic family in the Gambia. If he says that he mastered the bible, people might not doubt him. To many here, Jammeh is a “trouble shooting doctor” that never was. His critics say they doubt if Jammeh can recite five suras of the Quran.

While in the army Jammeh hardly joins his colleagues on prayers and was often complaining about the injustice in the country. His sudden change of heart came as a surprise to many Gambians who used to work with him at Depot.

A Nigerian doctor who is on technical assistance in the Gambia told me that there is nothing wrong to promote bush doctors in the country, but cautions that such doctors must be trained about the health responsibilities associated with their work.”In Africa, many people died due to wrong prescriptions given by bush doctors.These chams must pass clinical test before they can  be released to the public. But this is not the case in some countries including the Gambia. Bush doctors operates on their own and are not monitored by the state. Bush doctors need to be regulated.”said the doctor.

A medical scientist in the Gambia also made similar remarks.”If it’s true that the President can cure terminally ill patients, he should share his knowledge with us. As scientists, we believe in experimenting new ideas. We can only buy his story if it works in our labs.”said the scientist.

Efforts to socilit reaction from the RVTH management proved abortive at press time.

Posted on Monday, January 15, 2007 (Archive on Wednesday, February 28, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI

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1 user commented in " Breaking News:Gambia’s President Is Mentally Retarded! Doctors Warn Gambians not to use Bush doctor Jammeh’s drugs! "

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in January 15th, 2007 at 10:39 pm

This would be funny but it is acutally sad. There are enough people who still believe in ghosts and charms and spells to let this guy be president.
As for “bush doctors”, the herbs are powerful, and other countries are promoting professionalization of local practitioners. Alas, most are self trained, not doing the long apprenticeship that traditional medicine men/women have done in the past.

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