Parliament’s summons for a Professor at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Ghana Professor Alex Dodoo for allegedly calling Members of Parliament (MPs) “ignorant” over their comments regarding the Ebola vaccine clinical trial has been described as “extremely amusing.”
A Research Coordinator at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Susan Adu Amankwah on Eyewitness News said: “I find it extremely amusing” because according to her, some of the comments and remarks made by some MPs on the matter did not come from “a point of knowledge.”
“I mean somebody asked if it’s been done on rats before it’s being done on humans. To cut things short, animal studies are done before human studies. That is basic science…so obviously, they were not speaking from a point of knowledge and if he [Prof Dodoo] says they were ignorant, we can play the recording to see whether they were or they were not,” she said.
The Speaker of Parliament on Tuesday ordered that Prof. Dodoo must be hurled before the Privileges Committee to answer questions over his alleged contemptuous comments.
However, Susan Adu Amankwah was of the view that the only way to determine if Prof Dodoo was right or wrong is to play back the recording of last Wednesday’s Parliamentary proceedings.
She indicated that Parliamentarians must know that Ghanaians take their comments on the floor of the House seriously because their remarks on that fateful day caused panic.
“When you stand on the floor of Parliament and you say something, it is recorded…you cannot just talk like you are an ordinary person so anything you say, people take it seriously and I think that the statements that they made in there, people panicked.”
Questions on FDA surprising
Susan Adu Amankwah further stated that the questions which were being asked about the level of government involvement in the clinical trial were surprising.
“I mean somebody asked whether the government knew about it. The protocol of the trial had gone through the FDA [Food and Drugs Authority] and it was the FDA that had given the approval. Obviously, the FDA acts by the law that they themselves passed – the Public Act 815 so the government knew about it. If the government is not represented by the FDA, if the state is not represented by the FDA, then I don’t know who the FDA is.”
She argued that the FDA is not a private institution but a regulator mandated by the state to ensure clinical trials is done according to law.
“Now, if they are questioning it without questioning the regulator by wanting to know what it is doing, I am sorry, you cannot ask that question when you yourself put that in place,” she added.
I’m not at risk
The Noguchi Research Coordinator however believed despite her strong views on the matter and her spirited defence for Prof. Dodoo, she is not at risk of also earning an invitation to appear before the Privileges committee.”
She said Parliament has the right to invite anyone before it but “if they say anything and it does not come from a knowledgeable place, it is disturbing.”