The Center for Democratic Development Ghana is set to hold a roundtable discussion to examine the utilization of digital and social media tools in clinical trials education in Ghana on Wednesday.

Clinical trials are voluntary human research studies designed to answer specific questions about the safety and effectiveness of drugs, vaccines, devices, and other therapies—or to study new ways of using existing treatments

The meeting which takes at the CDD Ghana office in Accra, brings together experts and participants from the clinical trials and regulatory bodies alongside communicators is expected to determine the status of, and initiate a broader discussion about community engagement in clinical trial conduct. It will also explore regulatory considerations involving the use of social media in clinical trials.

Expected to lead the discussion are Dr Susan Adu Amnakwah, cordniator for clinical trials at the Noguchi Institute , Dr Divine Banyubala, deputy registrar of the medical and dental council with Dr Derrick Edem Akpalu a CDD fellow, as lead discussant

Why increase participation and conversation on clinical trials

The need for this conversation CDD Ghana says, has been highlighted by recent backlash against the national malaria vaccine immunization program.

“Following the commencement of the vaccine rollout, the subsequent public skepticism and suspicion around the program indicated a deficit in public education on clinical trials and their role in medical innovation.”

Current trends indicate that the number of clinical trials conducted in Africa are increasing and there needs to be effective communication between clinical research professionals, health authorities, clinical trial participants and general population. This communication is even more important given the widespread availability and influence of social media on potential trial participants and their communities.