Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Should Parliament Allow Well-Meaning Medical Researchers To Put Ghana At Risk From The Ebola Fever Virus?

Throughout history,  medical researchers have constantly pushed the frontiers of knowledge in medical science,  further forward.

It is the results of such cutting-edge research that has led to the improvement in  the health of billions of people around the world over the decades.

Many alive today, might suffer premature deaths, were it not for access to doctors in public healthcare facilities - who offer them the latest treatment and prescribe safe and well-tested drugs for them.

It is therefore not surprising  that medical doctors interested in research into the Ebola haemorrhagic fever virus are keen to have an Ebola vaccine tested in Ghana.

It is also understandable that members of Parliament, some of whose constituents could be selected to take part in any Ebola vaccine trials here, should seek further information from those who are conducting the trials in Ghana - to have an insight into just how safe the vaccines actually are.

Perhaps members of our political class should listen to those in our midst, who say that it is at precisely such moments, that our parliamentarians would be wise  to turn to the conspiracy theorists, who publish articles in alternative online media outlets - and some of whom often accuse bioweapons researchers of the military forces of the big powers, of deliberately infecting unsuspecting populations of poor nations,  with dangerous viruses.

The information our parliamentarians garner from such unorthodox sources online  will help them protect ordinary Ghanaians - from a fate similar to that which befell some inhabitants of northern Nigeria in 1996: when Pfizer tested its drug trovaflaxacin during a meningitis epidemic in that part of Nigeria.

In 2009,  the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, allowed the families of 11 children who died during the outbreak of the Kano meningitis epidemic, to sue Pfizer in the US under the Alien Torts Statute. Pfizer settled with them out of court - and paid Nigeria some US$72 millions as compensation.

We must not forget that there are some Ghanaians who  argue that we have, as a people, paid our dues, in combatting the west African Ebola fever epidemic.

They point to the fact that our nation agreed - at a time when many nations around the world closed their airspace to airlines flying from the three worst Ebola affected nations -  to have Ghana serve as a logistics hub for the global effort to contain the Ebola fever epidemic that spread from Guinea to Liberia and Sierra Leone last year. Do they have a point, one wonders?

In any case, it is important that parliamentarians, and the media, in Ghana, demand an urgent answer from the medical doctors responsible for the GSK Ebola vaccine trials here, to a simple question.

With respect, can they tell the good people of Ghana, why, in the midst of a move by the British government to make public, all UK-funded vaccine trial data, Prime Minister David Cameron, has excluded data from Ebola vaccine trials - on national security grounds? Food for thought.

A people who shake hands routinely many times daily, bathe and handle the dead out of respect for the traditional rituals and practices governing burial of the departed, across the nation, and who sweat freely in the humid climate we experience here yearly, after the dry  harmattan season,  will definitely die in their tens of thousands, were there to be an outbreak of Ebola fever in Ghana.

Who will travel by tro-tro to work if the Ebola fever virus  comes to Ghana, for example, I ask? The economic cost of such an outbreak will be incalculable - and our struggling economy might never recover from such a blow for many years. It just doesn't bear thinking.

One's humble advice (unsolicited and offered freely) to the overworked and underpaid members of Ghana's Parliament, is to google and read about Ebola vaccine trials from just the following two websites: Jon Rappoport's website and the Eugenics and Pandemics website.

Parliament should not allow President Mahama's beseiged administration to cave in to any behind-the-scenes pressure from foreign governments in this matter.

This is a better-safe-than-sorry situation for Ghana. Let our parliamentarians ask their counterparts in Sierra Leone, why their ministry of health and sanitation brought Ebola diagnostic kit tests, and virus research being carried out by Tulane University and the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Kanema,  to an abrupt halt, in July 2014.

Surely,  our nation actually contributed to the global fight against the west African Ebola fever epidemic - when  Ghana sent volunteer healthcare professionals to parts of the affected area in 2014?

Above all, Parliament must be careful not to allow the desperation for funding, for their under-resourced labs, on the part of well-meaning but naive medical researchers in Ghana, to put our nation at risk from the Ebola fever virus.

If it is true that the combination of Ebola and cold viruses can cause Ebola fever, then is the GSK Ebola vaccine trial not clearly an unacceptable risk for our nation to take - especially when nothing stops brilliant Ghanaian researchers from travelling to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to undertake such Ebola vaccine trials, if they so desire? Just enquiring - not condemning anyone. I shall rest my case, for now. Hmm, Ghana - enti omanyi ebeyeyie anaa?

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