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UNDP Names New Chief Envoy for Gambia After Former Envoy Expelled for Questioning President Jammeh's Claims of Cure for HIV/AIDS

April 13, 2007

The United Nations Development Programme on Sunday announced that Adama Guindo will serve as the new chief envoy for Gambia after former envoy Fadzai Gwaradzimba was ordered to leave the country for questioning President Yahya Jammeh's claims that he can cure HIV/AIDS, AFP/Sunday Times reports (AFP/Sunday Times, 4/11). Jammeh since January has claimed that he can cure HIV/AIDS with a treatment that involves application of a green paste, as well as application of a gray-colored solution splashed on people's skin and drinking a yellowish tea-like liquid. Jammeh said people taking the treatment should refrain from drinking alcohol, tea and coffee; eating kola nuts; and having sex. Public health workers' biggest concern is that Jammeh would ask HIV-positive people to stop taking antiretroviral drugs, which weakens their immune systems and makes them more prone to infections, according to Antonio Filipe, World Health Organization regional adviser in Senegal. Jammeh in February ordered Gwaradzimba to leave the country after she questioned his claim. In addition, Gambian authorities in February fired two journalists at a newspaper in the country because Jammeh did not approve of their reports on his treatment. The journalists were given back their jobs after about four days (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/20). Guindo, who was previously the UNDP chief in Senegal, reported to Banjul, Gambia's capital, on Wednesday, AFP/Times reports (AFP/Sunday Times, 4/11).

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