Ebola 1

Ghana rolled out a public awareness campaign on Thursday to assure people that a proposed clinical trial of the Ebola vaccine in some parts of the country will be safe.

Ebola 1The exercise is aimed at disabusing the minds of Ghanaians against the vaccine trial which has been approved by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).

The Ebola pandemic, with the epicenter in West Africa, led to over 25,000 cases and over 1,000 deaths. Experts say the absence of licensed drugs and vaccines contributed to the impact of the epidemic in the sub-region.
Ghana has not recorded any case of the Ebola Virus Disease.

Last week, Parliament ordered the suspension of the trial over concerns expressed by some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) that the trial would end up spreading the Ebola virus in Ghana.
Following the public outcry, the Ministry of Health decided that it was imperative to provide a platform for the public to interact with professionals on the clinical trials.

Ghana Country Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) Magda Robalo assured Ghanaians that the UN body would not approve of any clinical trials that would undermine the health and safety of the citizenry.
She said an effective vaccine would be an asset wherever the epidemic evolves.

“Safety remains of paramount importance to us,” she said, adding that the “WHO is closely watching the process and it shall stand and speak if there is something wrong.”

“Ethics, safety of the people, despite the sense of urgency that we have, remains the paramount criteria for us. There shall be no wrongdoing under our watch.”

Professor William Ampofo, a virologist at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research at the University of Ghana, said the current effort in Ghana was to contribute towards the development of an effective vaccine to protect populations in future outbreaks of the disease.

“This vaccine trial is happening at an opportune time for us in Ghana because we have the opportunity to see whether it is safe or not so that the ministry will have the scientific evidence to make the right decision on the kind of Ebola vaccine that could be deployed if the need be,” he said.
A former head of the Expanded Immunization Program (EPI), Kwadwo Odei Antwi-Agyei, said the trial was a good opportunity for Ghana to also contribute to science, adding that the “vaccines are safe and that Ghanaians will be protected from any harm.”

The health ministry, however, says not a single test has so far been conducted and the vaccines in question have not been imported yet for the exercise to be carried out.
The campaign will later be conducted in the Volta, Brong Ahafo and the Upper East Regions.
Currently, there are at least 10 vaccines in development. Enditem



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