As a Ghanaian writer based in the UK, I’ve earned a ‘credible’ name as ‘that notorious writer’ and even more—all because, I always opt for reason as against the alternative nonsense in a Ghanaian setting, so intellectually immature yet this alternative reigns.
I’ve taken 3 days to monitor and read a bunch of social media comments from Ghanaians, listened to radio conversations about the Ebola vaccine trials in Ghana and to be frank; the arguments are shocking for their lack of reason and any scientific backing.
I have also attempted to explain at the back of reason why the Ebola vaccine trial in Volta Region of Ghana must be allowed to take place—to the rolling eyes of several Ghanaians, because reason is not part of our lifestyle. If you think I am being dishonest, point to me the reason in an argument like this; ‘if you think it’s alright, then come down and do it or let your family go and do it.’
First of all, let me state that Ghana (every Ghanaian) benefits from almost every vaccine out there in the world which were at some point tried in other communities/countries on human beings, therefore, we cannot absolve ourselves from clinical trials of vaccines and yet continue to benefit when others allow it.
The posture that clinical trials do not take place in the West and that the Western countries always come down to Africa to trial their vaccines or drugs is borne out of pure ignorance. Several Ebola trials are taking/have taken place in the UK, China, America, Germany, Switzerland and other Africa countries—Ghana should not be any different.
Of course, Ghanaians have every right to have concerns but such concerns should be grounded in reason, backed by scientific facts or at least sustainable reasonable arguments. We can raise ethical concerns and ensure that the researchers abide by the needed ethical standards. We can ask that the participants should be given reasonable incentives, backed by proper insurance policies as it’s done everywhere in the world.
However, the principal shouting voices are not looking at this; it demands them to reason and they don’t want to do that—so they’ve resulted to throwing into the air more ill-informed submissions to push those at the receiving end to eschew the trial. The call that the trial should not be allowed in Ghana at all is not only irrational but exposes our greed and selfishness to the international community.
Now if you ask me, I will say; the researchers are going to have a lot of hurdles to jump—I mean it’s going to be tough for them. The reason is; these researchers are smart people who drive the vehicle of reason and science, trying to have an intelligent conversation with a bunch of citizens who mostly opt for absurdity and statically, a nation with about 30% illiteracy rate and a region with even a higher illiteracy rate.