By Kadrie Koroma
The Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation II, Madam Zuliatu Cooper has disclosed that the Sierra Leone Trial to Introduce a Vaccine against Ebola (STRIVE) has been a great success.
Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation II, Madam Zuliatu Cooper
Addressing her audience on the Final Update and Celebration of the STRIVE Ebola Prevention Marklate Clinical Trial on Tuesday August 23, 2016 at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown, Madam Zuliatu Cooper noted that without the participation of 8, 000 Sierra Leoneans health care and frontline workers and the communities they would not have achieved a positive result. She recalled some two years ago when the Ebola Virus Disease epidemic struck the sub-region, it exposes the fragile health systems and the absence of clinical research capacity particularly with regards to therapeutic and vaccine trials.
Madam Cooper described the event as a big achievement noting that Sierra Leoneans with support from partners within a short period were able to plan and successfully implement and manage a big clinical trial of the highest standard.
She reiterated that the partnership between the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would serve as a model to achieve the core mandate to maintain and improve the health of the people of Sierra Leone, and the availability of an Ebola prevention vaccine control.
The Deputy Minister said that they are proud as a nation, that they rose to the challenge and worked together to develop and implement a world class clinical trial that has the potential to help prevent another Ebola epidemic from happening. The lessons learned from STRIVE she added would help cope with future clinical trials and other research work that would help improve the health status of Sierra Leoneans.
Deputy Chief of Mission, United States Embassy, Ms. Laurie Meininger described STRIVE as a truly public health victory they all can be proud of, adding that it is the first vaccine clinical trial in Sierra Leone and more remarkable is the fact that STRIVE was planned and conducted in the midst of the largest Ebola outbreak in history.
She stated that the clinical trial is truly an outstanding example of what can be done in the spirit of collaboration and partnership, noting that through the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies, the United States government supported the trial with significant resources and equipment.
Laurie Meininger informed her audience that they are here to celebrate the clinical trial and thanked the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences for being outstanding partners.
The Deputy Chief of Mission said the United States is very proud to stand besides Sierra Leone and celebrate the success, and looks forward to many more years of continued partnership and collaboration.
Principal Deputy Director, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Anne Schuchat described STRIVE as a groundbreaking partnership between the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences and the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
She said the largest Ebola epidemic to date and the partnership successfully developed and implements Sierra Leone’s first marklate clinical trial including training staff, building infrastructure, and developing partnership across sectors and regions.
Other speakers include the Acting Vice Chancellor and Principal, University of Sierra Leone, Prof. Sahr Gbamanja, and an overview of the Ebola epidemic outbreak in West Africa by STRIVE Principal Investigator, Dr. Mohamed Samai.
The programme was chaired by the Director of Policy, Planning and Information, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Samuel Kargbo.