Wednesday, February 21, 2007

'I can cure Aids, and I will'

The Guardian
From the pockets of his billowing white robe, Gambia's president pulled out a plastic container, closed his eyes in prayer and rubbed a green herbal paste into the ribcage of his patient. He then ordered the thin man to swallow a bitter yellow drink, followed by two bananas.

"Whatever you do, there are bound to be sceptics - but I can tell you my method is foolproof," Yahya Jammeh said, surrounded by bodyguards inside his presidential compound as he prepared to treat more patients.

"Mine is not an argument, mine is a proof," he added. "It's a declaration. I can cure Aids, and I will."

In a continent suffering from the world's worst Aids epidemic, claims of miracle cures have alarmed public health workers already struggling against the corrosive effect of faith healers dispensing herbal remedies from thatched huts.

Experts are concerned that Mr Jammeh requires his patients to cease their anti-retroviral drugs - a dangerous step, because doing so can weaken the body's immune system, making the patient prone to infection, Dr Antonio Filipe, the local head of the World Health Organisation in neighbouring Senegal, said.

Since January, when Mr Jammeh announced his "cure" to a gathering of foreign diplomats, he has thrown the bureaucratic machinery of the small West African country behind his claim of a cure.
Read the rest here...

Please tell me again that quack-medicine is a matter of choice, of free will, that people should be allowed to believe in what they want to believe in, even if it's potentially terminal, that it's their money after all...

This news comes on the heels of last night's episode of BBC 2's "Trust me: I'm a healer". Is Tony Chadwick God's gift to infertile women?
Watch the clips and make up your own mind. When pressed, Tony reluctantly admitted that his unusually propped methods (involving a crown of thorns and what looks like a home-made solar panel), had not yet resulted in any babies being born although one of the "treated" women had a miscarriage and another had an ectopic pregnancy.

Out of sheer curiosity I clicked on the '
spiritual healing blog' link on that same BBC page, to be greeted immediately with a large pop-up (despite having a quite effective Google pop-up blocker in place): Discover how easy it is to create online wealth!

Spiritual healing, as well as most other forms of alternative medicine, is much more about healing the wallet of the 'healer' than providing some form of reliable, effective and safe treatment for the afflicted...

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