The Gambia: Portraits of survivors of Yahya Jammeh’s HIV/AIDS ‘cure’ treatment ©Jason Florio

Fatou Jatta survivour of President Yahya Jammeh's HIV/AIDS 'cure' program - portrait ©Jason Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange, The Gambia
Fatou Jatta – survivor of Yahya Jammeh’s HIV/AIDS ‘cure’ program, The Gambia – portrait ©Jason Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange

“From the time I started the concoction, I got weaker and weaker, my condition got worse. After July, I went to the MRC – which had been my treatment centre – and tested. My CD4 count had dropped to 80 – a threat to me, anything can happen” Fatou Jatta, survivor Jammeh’s HIV/AIDS ‘cure’ program and Member of the Santa Yalla Support Society

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters

In 2007, then President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, announced that he could cure HIV/AIDS with his secret herbal concoction. Jammeh ‘invited’ (under his harsh dictatorship, many survivors say that they were coerced) Gambians living with HIV and AIDS into his Presidential Alternative Treatment Programme. He also ordered them to stop taking antiretroviral drugs, which in some cases proved fatal – as in the case of Lamin Moko Ceesay’s (pictured below) wife who died as a result of stopping her antiretroviral drugs on the orders of Jammeh, when she took part in his treatment program.

Also, without the consent of the patients, Jammeh’s administration of his herbal ‘cure’ was often televised to the nation.

Lamin Ceesay - took part in Yahya Jammeh AIDS/HIV herbal 'cure' trials, the Gambia - portrait ©Jason Florio
Lamin Moko Ceesay – took part in Yahya Jammeh AIDS/HIV herbal ‘cure’ trials, the Gambia – portrait ©Jason Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange, The Gambia

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2019: AIDSFREEWOLD: The survivors filed complaints with The Gambia Medical and Dental Council against Dr. Tamsir Mbowe and Dr. Malick Njie, both of whom served at different points as Jammeh’s Minister of Health. Fatou Jatta, Ousman Sowe, and Lamin “Moko” Ceesay signed the complaint against Dr. Mbowe; Fatou Jatta filed the complaint against Dr. Njie. (Read the letters here.) The survivors are supported in their actions by AIDS-Free World, the Gambia-based Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), and Combeh Gaye of the Gambian law firm Antouman A.B. Gaye & Co.

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters

Ousman Sowe, survivour of President Yahya Jammeh's HIV/AIDS 'cure' program - portrait ©Jason Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange, The Gambia
‘Musa’, survivor of President Yahya Jammeh’s HIV/AIDS ‘cure’ program –
portrait ©Jason Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange, The Gambia

#Portraits4PositiveChange

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’ is a multi-media work-in-progress series – portraits and filmed testimonies by Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio. To date, the portraits have been exhibited at The Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations, and at the British High Commissioners Residence, Banjul, and at the Truth, Reconciliation, Reparations Commission (TRRC). See a selection of the portraits on Jason Florio’s website floriophoto.com

Portraits for Positive Change - at the TRRC Gambia ©Jason Florio
‘Portraits for Positive Change’ at the TRRC – donated by the British High Commission, The Gambia ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

#Portraits4PositiveChange

Jason Florio making #Portraits4PositiveChange, the Gambia ©Helen Jones-Florio.
Jason Florio making #Portraits4PositiveChange, the Gambia ©Helen Jones-Florio.

floriophoto.com

Available for assignments & for image licensing – Contact here

 @jasonflorio / @floriotravels / @doors.helenjonesflorio / 

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Media: Le Monde Afrique – In the Gambia, the wounded faces of Yahya Jammeh’s dictatorship

In April 2000, Yusupha was shot in the back by Yahya Jammeh regime forces while attending a protest. He was left paralyzed. Image © Jason Florio
In April 2000, Yusupha was shot in the back by Yahya Jammeh regime forces while attending a protest. Image © Jason Florio

British photographers Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio met dozens of victims of the former president’s regime

“I do not care what you do with my photo or my testimony,” concluded Alagie Sonko after the meeting. It is the fact that you came to listen to me that did me the greatest good” Alagie Sonko, the Gambia – Le Monde Afrique / Romain Chanson

#Portraits4PositiveChange

Portraits for Positive Change forms part of an on-going body of work also known as ‘Gambia – Victims and resisters of a regime’


Available for assignments & for image licensing – Contact here

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Yahya Jammeh herbal AIDS/HIV ‘cure’ – portraits © Jason Florio

Lamin Ceesay - took part in Yahya Jammeh AIDS/HIV herbal 'cure' trials, the Gambia - portrait ©Jason Florio
Lamin Ceesay – took part in Yahya Jammeh AIDS/HIV herbal ‘cure’ trials, the Gambia – portrait ©Jason Florio

 

Gambia – Victims and Resisters of a Regime

Lamin Ceesay was on of a number of HIV/AIDS patients coerced by former Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, to stop taking their anti-retroviral drugs and be treated by him personally with his herbal HIV/AIDS ‘cure’. Jammeh’s treatment proved to be dangerous, and often fatal for many,… see more at floriophoto.com

#Portraits4PositiveChange

To find out more about this project, check out our GoFundMe page.

Jason Florio making #Portraits4PositiveChange, the Gambia ©Helen Jones-Florio.
Jason Florio making #Portraits4PositiveChange, the Gambia ©Helen Jones-Florio.

 

We are currently in the Gambia, West Africa, working on a long-term portrait series, ‘Gambia – Victims, and Resisters of a Regime‘, #Portraits4PositiveChange, through January 2019. I am available for assignments – please contact Jason here

More updates, coming soon

Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio, Essau, The Gambia. Image courtesy Madi Sonko
Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio, Essau, The Gambia, Dec 2018. Image courtesy Madi Sonko

 

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Photo of the Day: Victims of the Jammeh Regime, The Gambia – portraits ©Jason Florio

Habib Touray - environmental activist, Gambia. Portrait ©Jason Florio | Touray was jailed for protesting during the Yahya Jammeh regime
Habib Touray – environmental activist, the Gambia. Portrait ©Jason Florio

 

Touray was jailed for protesting during the Yahya Jammeh regime. An environmental activist, he was pulled from his house by President Jammeh’s henchman and jailed for protesting against illegal sand mining, run by Jammeh’s brother, that was having a devastating environmental impact and also destroying ladies vegetable gardens in Habib’s village. Jason Florio.

See more of Florio’s portraits from

‘The Gambia – Torture, Abuse, and Dissent