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|Dr. Husni Al-Goshae, Deputy Director at the Science and Technology Hospital and University Professor:|
"there is no explanation for why many people travel abroad for medical services. Costs for treatment in Yemen are cheaper and almost the same quality that is received in neighboring Arab countries, regardless; expenses these people pay for tickets and hotel accommodations, these costs may be 40-50 percent of costs paid for abroad hospitals."
HAKIM ALMASMARI (YEMEN POST
Article Date: January 12, 2009
Yemen Post: You are part of a research team that says it discovered a cure for HIV/AIDS. What the latest about your project?
Husni Al-Goshae: Almost three and a half years ago, we started the implementation of a full HIV/AIDS scientific research with very primitive tools.
At the beginning we tested a medication discovered by Sheikh Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani on animals, mainly rabbits, and then by time it was tested on humans. All experiments were carried out by a specialist team.
Experiments on animals showed positive results, where we than called the medication Ejaz 3.
After we made sure that the helper medication has no effects on animals we started using it on people free of HIV. And we noticed that the helper didn't affect these peopleís health.
Then we started with 17 Yemeni HIV/AIDS patients. After 3-9 months of continuous treatment, about 11 out of 17 patients were totally cured. The results encouraged us to look for new patients so we tried the medication on 40 Yemeni and non-Yemeni patients. About 25 out of 40 were totally cured of the HIV/AIDS virus.
We sent letters to the Minister of Public Health and Population showing him what we had achieved. In response, the minister sent a team to Sheikh Al-Zindani. The research team attended the interview and showed the Health Ministry team the results.
The Health Ministerís team suggested we send the results to the World Health Organization.
We sent 8 blood samples to the organization which in return sent them to a laboratory owned by the US Marines. At the laboratory, researchers investigated the samples and found out 4 out of the samples were negative for the HIV virus and the other four had remnants of the virus. We were astonished by the results showed at the US laboratory, because samples were for some of those who already used the medication and of those who stopped using it for more than a year.
YP: How many patients have you been completely cured from the virus until now?
HA: Almost 36 patients.
YP: You have already treated and cured patients... Why havenít you received the approval and international patent for the medication?
HA: We sent the results to get the approval and a patent from one of international organizations. The process usually takes between 14-18 months to get a final approval. We sent the papers three months ago.
YP: It is impossible to get approval for the medicine because from our knowledge the medication must be chemical to get international approval and not herbal t?
HA: No. You can definitely get approval for herbal medicines from international organizations as well. Once we get approval from them, we will write to the U.S to get the approval from there too.
YP: Have you treated any foreign patients yet?
HA: We have many foreign patients from the Gulf region and neighboring countries.
YP: How many foreign patients do you have?
HA: We have about 50 foreign patients along with 200 Yemeni patients currently being treated and using the HIV/AIDS medication.
YP: When the international patent and approval is given to you, would the prices of the medication be high?
HA: Once we get a patent, we will start manufacturing the medication. In fact, ten pharmaceutical companies have contacted us offering to produce the medicine in forms of tablets and capsules. We are currently considering the offer.
YP: Away from this topic, at your hospital, problems sometimes happen when tribesmen who try to hurt the hospital guards, doctors and sometimes patients. These tribesmen break into the hospital with guns... and as a result of such acts, a doctor was killed two weeks ago. Why was the doctor killed and what has the hospital done in the process?
HA: The problem started three days after an 85-year old patient came to the hospital. Having suffered from heart failure, renal failure and diabetics, the patient died.
Even his relatives were expecting his death at any time as his health condition was very serious. When he died, the doctor who treated him called his relatives to tell them about the death. But the relatives threatened to come and kill the doctor.
Doctor Dirhim informed security at the hospital who then took precautions and guarded the doors of the hospital tightly.
But the patient's relatives came well-armed and broke the front doors of the hospital and went into the building heading to the intensive care room. In the room, there was Dr. Dirhim writing a report on the death. They went into the room and stabbed the doctor in his back. All together, they were 20 tribesmen with machine guns, daggers and pistols.
We took the doctor to the operating room and during a lengthy operation he lost almost all his blood, but doctors did their best to help him live. His condition improved a little. But he was taken again to the operating room in an effort to save his life, but the wound was deep affecting his chest and neck. The doctor died after that.
YP: Have the suspects been caught yet?
HA: We succeeded to catch only three of the 20 suspects. One of them is the killer's brother, the second is his cousin and the third is the sheikh of clan they come from. The three are now under police supervision.
YP: We see many people travel abroad for treatment. The reason is not because of better medicine, but also cheaper prices. Do you believe in that?
HA: No... I don't think so. Fortunately we have an excellent hospital here, the Hospital of the Science and Technology University, besides other good hospitals across the republic. These hospitals have professional medical teams who can treat all diseases and perform all surgeries.
In the past, some diseases were difficult to treat, but now all resources are available and our doctors can deal even with the most difficult operations such as renal transplantation and open heart surgery.
All resources and facilities are now provided, and there is no explanation for why many people travel abroad for medical services. Costs for treatment in Yemen are cheaper and almost the same quality that is received in neighboring Arab countries, regardless; expenses these people pay for tickets and hotel accommodations, these costs may be 40-50 percent of costs paid for abroad hospitals.
But some people prefer to travel abroad for other ends besides medical services such as tourism.
YP: As professor of medicine at the Sana'a University and the Science and Technology University, How do you evaluate the level of Yemeni students who study at local universities?
Actually, I used to teach medicine not only at local universities but also in Britain where I graduated. And exploring the level of students at local universities, this level here is strongly competing with the level of students at UK universities. I visited many countries such as Jordan, UK, Sudan and Egypt; there is not a big difference between the level of graduates from our universities and the level of graduates from these countries colleges. However, our graduates need more facilities to reach the same standard.
YP: But there are many mistakes in our hospitals. Who is responsible for these mistakes?
Once I attended a conference in UK on medical mistakes. In the conference, it was noticed that mistakes in UK hospitals represented 7%. If we compare this to mistakes in our local hospitals, we will find that there is no big difference between the two situations. This happens in Britain, although facilities provided for hospitals there are much better than in Yemen.
YP: A law in Jordan fines the doctor for any mistake he makes during operation. Do you think this law can be practiced here in Yemen?
HA: We hope so... In Yemen we have many foreign doctors including Russian and doctors from Eastern Europe countries. But there is a difference between Jordan and Yemen in dealing with foreign doctors.
In Jordan, foreign doctors must be examined inside Jordan before they start working there. But in Yemen, there is no such exam for acceptance in the medical field. We hope this law can be applied in Yemen as well.
YP: The Ministry of Health when it gives medicines for patients. These medications are low quality ones. Is that true or not?
HA: Actually, it is a matter of financial ability. The budget of health and education in Arab countries and all developing countries are so low, except in some Gulf States. Hence these countries Health Ministries are unable to meet high standard medical requirements.
YP: Foreign doctors who come as visitors to Yemen, are they qualified enough or not?
HA: Surely, in general the Ministry of Health supervises the issue. Health officials come regularly to examine documents of visiting doctors at private sector hospitals.
And by law any visiting doctors should take permission from the Health Ministry before they come.
YP: For those citizens who can't afford treatment payments, there is not a governmental hospital with low medical fees. How can they be treated?
HA: There are many hospitals to take care of poor citizens in Yemen. However, the situation is different from that in the US and Britain where there are national medical services. But in the Arab World, not all citizens are covered by health insurance.In Yemen, there are also many charitable organizations that pay for treatments of poor citizens. And sometimes, hospitals treat poor citizens with funding from businessmen and companies.