The Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia has stated that Ghana needs to support the development of safe and efficacious vaccines against diseases because the country stands to gain when the efforts are successful.
“We have to do our bit to support the development of a safe and efficacious vaccine against this disease, firstly because we will potentially be the greatest beneficiaries when the efforts are successful, as Ebola is now in West Africa. And also because the problem is now our (West African) problem, and we, more than most, should be concerned about finding a solution,” Mr. Segbefia said.
The Health Minister said these on the floor of Parliament when he briefed the House on the pending Ebola vaccine trial in the Volta Region.
The exercise was suspended by the Health Ministry and supported by Parliament after public outcry on the consequences of the trial in the country.
But briefing the House, Mr. Segbefia stated that “Ghana has the intellectual capacity, infrastructure and track record to support such a clinical trial with demonstrable strength in governance institutions like this august House and the Ministry of Health, regulatory mechanisms like the FDA, and implementation and research with numerous health research centers throughout the country.”
He further explained that for every clinical trial, there were potential risks, so they have to take that into account and make every effort to identify the risks early and abort the trial if need be.
“That is why the FDA has put in place extra measures, over and above the usual measures they employ, to make sure that in the event that this trial is to proceed, things do not get out of hand,” the Minister explained.
He also suggested that “a nationwide public education programme be initiated to sensitize the Ghanaian public on the nature of vaccine trials against Ebola to remove the misconceptions and suspicions.”
The Minister noted that “even before the sensitization starts, let me state categorically that the trial has not started anywhere in Ghana.”
Commenting on the statement, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, MP for Old Tafo stated that the Minister did not address concerns of the Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Akoto Osei suggested that since the Minister admitted there was a lack of consultation on the implementation process, the official responsible for that should be dealt with.
Manhyia South MP, Dr. Mathew Opoku-Prempeh also questioned the integrity of technocrats who took part in meetings leading to the selection of Ghana as part of countries for the trial.
Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Haruna Iddrisu, wondered what they were trying the vaccine against when we have not recorded any Ebola case in Ghana.
Minority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu also told the Minister that Ghana did not share borders with the three affected countries hence the Minister was wrong to have indicated that the affected countries shared borders with Ghana hence the rationale to select Ghana for the trials.
Source: Daily Heritage
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