The president of the Republic over the weekend discharged 68 treated HIV/AIDS patients who were the 7th batch of the Presidential Alternative Medical Treatment Programme (PAMTP).
The ceremony, which was held at the State House grounds, marked exactly five years, eight months and two weeks since the commencement of the treatment programme.
Addressing the gathering at the ceremony, His Excellency, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh used the occasion to advise the discharged patients to be cautious, emphasising that the medication is meant to get rid of the deadly virus from the body of the patients.
"The objective of my medication is to get rid of the virus that the patients are infected with and I have made it very clear since the start of my treatment programme. Five years ago, the West were saying that it would take twenty-five years to get a cure for HIV/AIDS but two years after I started the treatment, when we posted the results on the Internet, some people also claimed to have the cure for HIV/AIDS and their medicines also eliminate the virus from the patients' body and today I have no doubt if I face any HIV/AIDS patient in critical condition, I can assure you that by the grace of Almighty Allah he would walk and go about his business as normal," he added.
Integration of natural medicines
President Jammeh also disclosed that his government would fully integrate natural medicine to all health centres and hospitals around the country. "Because our salvation is when we go back to our natural pharmacists [forest], we will use western medicine as complementary to natural African medicine. In my treatment where my medicine cannot treat any disease, no western medicine can cure it," he said.
He continued: "I am very grateful to the Almighty Allah and I am also grateful to the first batch of the treated HIV/AIDS patients because if they had not come forward and had listened to the prophets of doom, then the treatment wouldn't have been possible because they were told a lot of things discouraging them from appearing on the television, which means they are committing suicide by coming to a treatment that they don't know anything about.
Those who said that HIV/AIDS is not curable may be right because if you don't know God and you believe that you descended from frog and you are not created by the Almighty Allah or you came to this world through evolution then you would not know that anything that happens in this world good or bad, Allah knows about it and has solutions about it. There is no disease that the Almighty Allah doesn't know about and there is no disease without a cure."
The Gambian leader also said that he doesn't care being called different names, because even the Prophet (PBUH) was called all sought of names. "Who am I to expect that everybody would praise me. But I thank Allah just as the Prophet Mohammad (SAW) prevailed and establish Islam which is the strongest religious today so have I also prevailed to cure HIV/AIDS to the point that 68 are being discharged today," he added.
According to the president, the 7th batch is the biggest to be discharged since the start of the treatment programme five years ago. "This is the biggest jackpot we have ever won. As far as HIV is concerned, nobody can claim to know everything about it. The more you treat HIV/AIDS, the more you learn about it. I am not talking about those so-called professors who sit in the laboratory and call themselves HIV/AIDS experts when they don't know anything about HIV/AIDS.
"It is sad that some of us Africans if God were to stand somewhere and call us to a meeting, some of us will still go and answer to the whites. What would I gain by claiming to do something which is so sensitive to humanity, painful to Africa for which every African today if you are going to the West they look at you and the first thing they think of, is whether you are HIV positive, such an insult to Africa," he further stated.
President Jammeh also disclosed that the first group was the most difficult group of patients he has treated so far, which he said compelled him to expel one of the patients. He said the second group was also difficult because some of them do dodge and go to their homes. "We had a tough time with them. I used to spend 24hrs with them and some of them will even refuse to take medicine," he said.
The Gambian leader wrapped-up his address by thanking Allah, Gambians, non-Gambians and other institutions who have been sponsoring the treatment programme.
His words: "May Allah reward you for your good deeds. It would have been very difficult to have the huge number of treated patients with different diseases without your support and I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have come to attend especially those who went through the treatment program."
For his part, Dr Tamsir Mbowe, the director general of the President's Alternative Medical Treatment Programme (PAMTP), said despite widespread controversy and all obstacles and challenges, President Jammeh has worked tirelessly to build a bridge between traditional and conventional medicine in The Gambia. "We thank you for significantly changing people's approach to alternative medicine," he told the president, and continued: "As I speak to you today, many individuals and institutions claim that they have the medication to reduce the viral load from the human system but nothing will change the fact that our president will go down in history as the first medical practitioner to come up with medicinal herbs that have the potency to reduce and eliminate the HIV virus from human system."
Dr Mbowe also pointed out that the PAMTP has made real progress in the treatment of HIV, diabetes, hypertension, infertility and other diseases. "This is evident in the results of the high number of babies that were born after taking the President's infertility treatment," he added.
Alhaji Beyai, Haddijatou Cham and Sumbang Jatta, who were among the discharged patients, heaped praises on the Gambian leader for treating them. "I want to tell you [the gathering] that the President's treatment programme has efficacy in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. This is what I want to assure everybody and to ascertain that the treatment is effective and I would like to urge all and everyone present here, within and outside The Gambia who are not sure of their HIV/AIDS status to please come and join the president's treatment programme," Beyai said.
The minister of Health and Social Welfare, Fatim Badjie, also spoke at the occasion, which was also graced by the vice president, Her Excellency Dr Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy; the speaker of the National Assembly, Cabinet ministers, members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, National Assembly members, religious leaders, and relatives of the discharged patients, among others.