Deadly virus Ebola vaccine trial safe - Health Minister claims

The Ministry of Health will from Thursday, June 18 begin a sensitisation exercise in the Greater Accra Region on the Ebola vaccine trial .

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Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia play

Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia

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The Minister of Health Alex Segbefia has punched holes in suggestions the Ebola vaccine trial in Hohoe in the Volta Region had adverse effects that could pose serious threats to the survival of the volunteers.

Mr. Segbefia who appeared before Parliament today said the exercise cannot in any way lead to an outbreak, adding that previous tests have been conducted in accordance with international best practices.

“Mr. Speaker, I believe Ghana has the intellectual capacity, infrastructure and track record to support such a clinical trial – with demonstrable strength in governance institutions like this august house and the Ministry of Health, regulatory mechanisms like the FDA, and implementation and research – with numerous health research centers throughout the country.

He said, "For every clinical trial, there are potential risks, so we have to take that into account and make every effort to identify the risks early and abort the trial if need be. That is why the FDA has put in place extra measures, over and above the usual measures they employ, to make sure that in the event that this trial is to proceed, things do not get out of hand."

The Minister noted that, "It is clear from the debate in this august house and from reactions from Ghanaians as a whole, that there is some misunderstanding about the trial, the dangers it poses and its benefits to Ghana and the rest of the world.

Ebola evokes fear, and discussions about the disease are emotive. Clearly, Ghanaians in general and the communities within which the trials have been planned were not sufficiently consulted and briefed about the trial. In order for this to be corrected, I am proposing the following steps."

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health will from Thursday, June 18 begin a sensitisation exercise in the Greater Accra Region on the Ebola vaccine trial .

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

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