Volta Region asked to take advantage of Ebola vaccine trial

VaccinationDr Joseph Nuertey, the Volta Regional Director of Health Services, has challenged the Region to take advantage of the proposed Ebola vaccine trial at Hohoe to market itself.

He said the successful execution of the exercise would include the Region among the list of communities, which helped in finding solutions to the Ebola Viral Disease and asked the people to welcome the clinical trial.

Dr. Nuertey was addressing a public forum in Ho following agitations across the country that such a trial could expose the people to the Ebola disease.

“This is a great opportunity. Ebola is a global problem and if we manage to host this trial, we will be holding our heads up,” he said.

Dr. Nuertey said there was no way anyone could get Ebola from the clinical trial, emphasising, “This is very safe. Volta must welcome the trial.”

Professor Fred Binka, the Vice Chancellor, University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), said the uncertain nature of the disease necessitated the selection of Ghana among other countries for the clinical trial.

He said the vaccines were developed with safety in mind and blamed the media for going to town with “one-sided” stories.

Prof. Binka said the successful trial of the vaccine could help the country have access to experimental drugs at “least for frontline healthcare providers.”

He said it would also help the country to develop the capacity to carry out such studies just as Tanzania, Uganda and other developing countries were doing.

“Other countries have welcomed this and are developing their capacities and Ghana must not miss out,” Prof. Binka stated.

He said Hohoe was chosen because it was an internationally recognised name in clinical research and for nearly 30 years it had hosted more than 30 clinical trials, “including the phase I, II, III studies” of oncho and malaria drugs.

Prof. Kwadwo Koram of the Noguchi Memorial Research Institute provided some responses to concerns by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and gave the assurance that the clinical trial could not cause Ebola in the country and emphasized the need for Ghana to prepare itself for any eventuality.

Ms Ama Edwin, a Member of the Ghana Health Service Ethics Committee, said due diligence was followed and that there was no cause for alarm.

She said prospective volunteers would go through “test of understanding” to ensure that they understood the purpose of the trial and their consents sought before they would be taken through the exercise.

Ms Edwin said all participants would be insured comprehensively for any adverse effect.

Mrs Delese Mimi Darko, the Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Safety Monitoring and Clinical Trials of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), said her outfit had checked every detail on safety issues and certified the Hohoe site for the clinical trial.

The participants commended UHAS and the GHS for the explanations, though they said they had come too late.

Some condemned heads of political parties and Members of Parliament who were said to have been duly invited yet failed to turn up.

Source: GNA

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