Jammeh starts curing patients today!

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POSTED: January 28, 2007

Sometimes I look around and see things, and I am not sure what to say. This is one of those times.

The Daily Observer, a newspaper in the Gambia, has an online edition. It has a main article, dated Thursday January 18th, that begins:

As the world’s scientists and medical doctors continue to scout for an HIV/AIDS cure, which they have not been able to find for the past 20 years, The Gambian leader President Yahya Jammeh yesterday disclosed that he has the cure for the HIV/Aids pandemic as well as asthma. Today at State House, the Gambian leader will start the treatment of HIV/Aids patients. His treatment of asthma patients will start on Saturday.

It goes on to print the President’s entire speech, in which he talks about having “a mandate” to carry out public cures, under certain conditions. He explains that:

I can treat asthma and HIV/Aids and the cure is a day’s treatment. Within three days the person should be tested again and I can tell you that he/she will be negative. […]

The mandate I have is that HIV/Aids cases can be treated on Thursdays. That is the good news and the bad news is that I cannot treat more than ten patients every Thursday. There is nothing I can do about it and if I go beyond that I will have to pay the price

For asthma, I have to choose between Saturday and Friday. I am also not authorised to treat more than 100 people.

He makes numerous references throughout the speech to the unspecified mandate that he has received, and the unspecified price he will have to pay if he goes beyond it.

Finally, he explains why the Cuban and Taiwanese ambassadors have been invited to attend this somewhat unusual press conference.

One will asked what the Cuban and Taiwanese ambassadors are doing here. The aim is to share the treatment with them because in Taiwan traditional medicine are used. The asthma medicine can be mass produced and packaged and exported to them. The one on HIV/Aids cannot be mass produced because I am restricted to ten patients only on every Thursday and I cannot go beyond that. I want to have a team of three doctors for asthma and HIV/Aids. I want you to select ten HIV/Aids patients: five males and five females for Thursday.

I have absolutely no comment to make at all. All I want to add is that I found the article via Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science site.