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06.05.2019 Health

Ignore Anti-Vaccine Campaigners, New Malaria Vaccines Well Tested—GHS Assures

By Eric Nana Yaw Kwafo
Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare
MAY 6, 2019 HEALTH
Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has rubbished reports suggesting that the new anti-malaria vaccines being given out to infants in the country did not pass through the required clinical trials.

But Director-General for the GHS, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare rubbishes those reports insisting that the drugs were rigorously tested before they were rolled out.

The new drugs are the only proven malaria vaccine in the entire world and is expected to protect infants against the deadly mosquito-borne disease.

Ghana on Tuesday, 30 April 2019, became the second country besides Malawi to roll out the sharing of the anti-malaria vaccines.

The move by the government is to help curb the diseases which is known for killing hundreds of thousands of people every year especially in Africa.

Since the rollout, however, some skeptics have been lashing out at government for giving out drugs that did not go through the required clinical tests.

Speaking in an interview with Citi FM on Monday, May 6, 2019, Dr Nsiah-Asare stressed that the vaccines have gone through the expected stages of trial and testing as with all other vaccines that have ever been introduced.

“The clinical trials are in stages, we do the first clinical trial with a few people, maybe with about thirty, maximum fifty people, which was done on soldiers who have gone to malaria-endemic areas, have malaria before, tested positive from the US and resurging countries; people are saying that it has never been tested with the whites, it’s not true”, GHS boss explained.

He continued, “Ghana took part in stage three clinical trials in two stations, two areas at Kintampo and at Agogo. I’m aware because I was in Kumasi. The Agogo one was being done through the School of Medical Sciences [of the] Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and Kintampo Research Centre of the Ghana Health Service did the Kintampo trial”.

“They did it in seven different endemic areas because they wanted to see. If you want to do vaccination, its better you concentrate on children. Malaria kills over 400, 000 children every year, so, the clinical trial stage three concentrated on children. Three; the beneficial effects of this vaccine on our children, poor children and they did it in seven countries with a population of about 15, 000 children.

“And this clinical trial was done from about 2009 to 2013, after the clinical trials, it goes through rigorous monitoring and evaluation. They follow the children, they’re still following the children up till today. We have some children who took part in the clinical trials who are now big children and this is being done for every vaccine invented because all the vaccines – our measles vaccines, polio vaccines – went through the same stages.

“So, after the clinical trial and after all the associations, European Medicine Association, World Health Organisation, and all other health organizations and researchers sat down and analyzed it, and then it has been agreed that: let’s go to the next stage, which is the piloting implementation”, Dr. Nsiah Asare added.