Reads 1455 times.



By Kassumai Kepp in Banjul

Dr Fidel R Carlos (pseudonym), a consultant psychiatrist at Gambia’s Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul and the Tanka Tanka Psychiatric Hospital in Bijilo, has told this reporter that “stress, anxiety and depression are the biggest causes of impotence in the Gambia, and not westernized foods”.

Dr Carlos’ comments come in the wake of the ludicrous announcement made by Yahya Jammeh, Gambia’s contradictory, murderous and drug-trafficking dictator, during his recently concluded so-called ‘Dialogue with the People Tour’, where he told his audience that ‘westernized foods’ are causing Gambian youths to become impotent.

Dr Carlos observed that the rising levels of stress, anxiety and depression amongst the country’s youth, largely caused by unemployment, lack of opportunities, fear and repression, are the only plausible explanations of an increase in reported cases of impotence, also called erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction happens when a man is not able to maintain an adequate erection to enable sexual intercourse to take place. He further went on to assert that the hopelessness of their situation is causing many Gambian youths to resort to the abuse of drugs, alcohol and other substances resulting in an increased incidence of a psychiatric condition called ‘drug-induced psychosis’. Dr Carlos, who has been practising in the Gambia for several years now, as part of the Gambia–Cuba cooperative agreement, told me that there is a significant increase in the prevalence of narcotics in the country since 1994, compared with what obtained prior to the military coup that brought Yahya Jammeh to power. Dr Carlos concluded by saying that many Gambia youths are not in a position to afford the exorbitant prices for so-called ‘westernized foods’ in the first place, so using that context to explain an increase in the levels of impotence (which he doubts) is grossly inaccurate and misleading.

A prominent Gambian psychologist has informed me that Jammeh’s announcement is what they (psychologists) call a Freudian slip and that Jammeh may in fact be alluding to his own predicament. The psychologist, who spoke to me on the assurances of strict anonymity, said that Jammeh’s misplaced policies and bad governance and his alleged abuse of drugs such as cocaine, has not only left the Gambia in dire circumstances, but has also caused himself severe stress, anxiety and paranoia. Thus, she concludes that it would not be far-fetched to believe that Jammeh in fact suffers from erectile dysfunction.

Dr Laurence Knott, a medical practitioner since 1973 and an experienced expert on erectile dysfunction, writing for a prominent online patient information website, notes that apart from physical causes such as damage to blood vessels, stress, anxiety and depression remain the biggest causes of erectile dysfunction. Dr Knott, who is also a lead assessor for the General Medical Council in the UK,  further notes that as a rule, a psychological cause for impotence is more likely than a physical cause if there are times when the person affected can get a good erection, even though most of the time they are unable to. Dr Carlos speaking in Banjul, had reported that of all the cases of impotence he has dealt with, most were temporary, and are resolved once the underlying psychological causes of stress, anxiety and depression are treated.

Yahya Jammeh, who claims that he has discovered an herbal remedy for various ailments including HIV/AIDS, asthma, infertility and diabetes, has been described by many international organisations engaged in health care as irresponsible and a hoax. Despite publishing dubious laboratory test results claiming the efficacy of his AIDS remedy, Yahya Jammeh continues to carry on with his so-called ‘presidential alternative treatment programme’, seen by many in and outside the country as a sideshow to distract the attention of the Gambia’s citizenry from his diabolical, ineffective and criminal style of running the affairs of state.

Kassumai Kepp is a freelance journalist. Contact kassumaikepp@gmail.com



Comments are closed.