Prof. Dodoo to face parliament over 'offensive' comments on Ebola vaccine trial

Parliament’s Privileges Committee is set to question Professor Alex Dodoo of the School of Medicine and Dentistry of the University of Ghana for allegedly attacking MPs for their comments on the  yet-to-be conducted  Ebola vaccine trial in Ghana.

Prof. Dodoo in an interview with TV3 and other media houses, chided the MPs because in his view they did not have much information on the clinical trials but were rather reacting anxiously and making uninformed statements on the floor of the house.

In an interview with TV3, he asked those who didn’t have information on the subject matter to shut up.

Prof. Dodoo, who is also the Chairman of the Global Vaccine Safety Initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO), said it was a shame that MPs were asking fundamental questions such as whether the trial had been performed on mice and chimpanzee when the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health could have easily obtained more clarity on the issue from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), which has been mandated to undertake such trials.

He said if this initial test had not been done, the trial would not have been authorized to reach its current stage where it was to be tested on humans.

“Ghana’s image and ability to develop would be damaged because no pharmaceutical company will come to the country as it appears that our laws are arbitrarily applied,” he said. ““When Ghana was hit with the H1N1, we begged other countries for vaccines.”

But his comments appear to have raffled feathers  in Parliament.  The Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho subsequently instructed that he should be hauled to the Privileges Committee to explain himself.

“The Speaker said though in such matters he had been reluctant in referring members of the public to the committee, in this particular matter, the House was on the same wavelength as the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences,” Mensah said.

“The Speaker has also directed the Health Committee to engage the Academy over the Ebola vaccine trial and inform the House accordingly.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health will from Thursday, June 18 begin a sensitization exercise in the Greater Accra region on the impending Ebola vaccine clinical trial.

The public education will subsequently be carried out in the Volta, Brong Ahafo and the Upper East regions, the Health Minister Alex Segbefia told Parliament, Tuesday.

The exercise is aimed at disabusing the minds of Ghanaians against the perception that the vaccine trial will end up spreading the Ebola virus in Ghana.

By: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/

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