“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
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.
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.
Interviewing sole survivor of a massacre, Ghanaian, Martin Kyere. Martin was one of a group of over 50 West African migrants, who were endeavouring to reach Europe when the boat they boarded in Senegal veered off course and landed in The Gambia.
Documentary film making in Ghana, West Africa (more news on that soon…). After wrapping filming today we watched as local fishermen gather their nets at the end of a days fishing, James Town beach, Accra.
Guyana Trans United’s ground-breaking campaign to repeal British colonial ‘Buggery Laws’ has found support from high-profile government officials. They share their experiences, hopes and aspirations as they challenge the legal framework that has led to Trans people not accessing the health services that they are entitled to, and need. Guyana Trans United received a grant from the Rapid Response Fund, which is managed by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation. FrontlineAids/Youtube
Huge thank you, Trans Pride Brighton, My Genderation and FrontlineAids, and – most importantly – everyone at Guyana Trans United for sharing their world with us. And, last but not least, thanks to Helen Jones-Florio, for hours of transcribing the interviews! JF
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