Ebola Vaccine trial sensitization campaign begins Thursday – Minister

The Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia, says a nationwide public sensitization on the phase one Ebola vaccine trial will begin this Thursday, 18th June 2015.

This he says is to take away the misconceptions and fears expressed by majority of the populace.

The Minister was briefing Parliament on Tuesday after he had been summoned to the house to respond to the concerns that had been raised about the clinical trial.

Many MPs had criticized the health Ministry for doing very little education on the exercise as some accused the Food and Drugs Authority of clandestinely attempting to carry out the exercise in the Volta Region.

The FDA collected the data of some persons at the Hohoe Midwifery Training College with the promise to offer them 200 cedis each and a mobile phone if they made themselves available for the trial.

The MPs like many Ghanaians who were angered by the report, have expressed fears about the dangers the trials could pose to the volunteers if the test goes wrong.

Some had also questioned why Ghana would volunteer its citizens when the country has not recorded any Ebola case.

The public sentiments forced the Health Ministry to halt the processes leading to the trials. This angered some scientists and persons in academia who felt people were unnecessarily causing fear and panic due to misinformation.

But barely a week after the directive from the Health Ministry to then FDA to halt the exercise due to a lack of sensitization, the Health Minister, Alex Segbefia, has told Parliament starting from Thursday June 18, a sensitization exercise on the trials would begin to educate the public about the effects or otherwise of the trials and the need for Ghana to contribute its quota to the global efforts aimed at finding a proven vaccine for the deadly Ebola disease.

The public education is to be carried out in the Volta, Brong Ahafo and the Upper East Regions.

The Minister in his address to Parliament explained the choice of Hohoe as the center for the clinical trial saying, Hohoe and Kintampo have over the years been sites for clinical trial of vaccines.

He said standard protocol had been followed prior to the approval for the vaccination to take place, but he conceded that despite the rigorous nature of the approval process, the stakeholder consultation that needed to have been done was not thorough enough.

TV3’s Parliamentary correspondent, Evelyn Tengma reported the Minister as saying the public education will be based on “what is likely to happen and what is likely not to happen and why we must cooperate with the world in finding a vaccine that is potent enough to deal with the Ebola virus.”

The Minister reiterated that not a single test has so far been conducted and that the vaccines in question have not yet arrived in the country for the exercise to be carried out.

He also clarified further that, the government will not in any way put the lives of Ghanaians at risk.

By: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/3news.com/Ghana

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