Thursday, June 11, 2015


By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Ministry of Health has reportedly suspended the much-talked-about Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) vaccines trial.

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) had sanctioned that Ghanaians should be used for the controversial and dangerous trial but it appears public pressure had compelled the government to put the whole exercise on hold.

The Volta Region branch of the ruling NDC appeared to be the most vocal on the issue when it protested the decision to start the trial in the region in the first place, describing it as tantamount to using the people as “guinea pigs.”

Students of Hohoe Midwifery Training School were selected as volunteers for the test trial in exchange for GH¢200 each and mobile phones human
and all was set for the take-off until the announcement came in.

Interestingly, the FDA’s news release had said Ghana was doing the trial alongside seven other countries but failed to mention the countries involved.
However, it was able to conveniently mention the names of the western partners and companies who they claimed were collaborating with the Ghanaian health authorities in the exercise.

The FDA said international pharmaceutical companies: Johnson & Johnson, Bavarian Nordic, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) were the firms to commence the trial in the country.

Tony Goodman, Public Relations Officer for Ministry of Health said on radio yesterday that sector Minister Alex Segbefia who is outside Ghana currently, suspended the exercise before embarking on his journey.

He said the suspension was as a result of widespread criticism by of the public particularly civil society organizations and some political party groupings.

“The Minister for Health is not in town. This whole thing is being done by FDA together with the Ghana Health Service. The Minister has got a lot of calls from numerous Ghanaians saying that they are not interested in any trial. So he said that since he’s not in Ghana, the trial should be suspended until he returns to look at the issues. ” the PRO said.

According to Mr. Goodman, the Minister was also suspending the exercise because he (Minister) believed Ghanaians were not ready ‘psychologically’ with vaccine trial.

“The minister understands that the FDA have the mandate to do this (trial) but psychological health is very important. Psychologically Ghanaians are not ready for the trials,” adding “If a vaccine has been developed in Mali, will you expect that Ghanaians will benefit from it? You will say so because we will go for it. What is wrong if Ghana also allows itself to be used? The most important thing is to establish whether the vaccine is safe and that has been established. It’s also been established that this vaccine is not going to cause any Ebola diseases. There is no way we are going to get Ebola because of the trial,” he added.

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