Ghana loses top physician to COVID-19  

The Late Prof. Jacob Plange-Rhule

Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule, the Rector of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, in the early hours of Friday succumbed to complications from COVID-19, at the University of Ghana Medical Centre, where he had been on a short admission.

Dr Justice Yankson, the General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association, (GMA) confirming the news of his demise to the Ghana News Agency, however, explained that Prof Plange-Rhule had an underlying medical condition.

Dr Yankson said though Prof Plange-Rhule was diagnosed of COVID-19 in Ghana, it was difficult to tell whether he got infected in the line of duty or not.

The World Health Organization said at a briefing on Friday that 10 per cent of health workers globally had been infected with the novel Coronavirus; and urged them to endeavour to protect themselves because of the general weaknesses in public health care.

Meanwhile, the news of Prof Plange-Rhule’s demise has been received with shock and sorrow by many Ghanaians, especially, the medical community with the outpouring of tributes honouring his huge contribution to professional development and his dedication to saving the sick.

Dr Ernest Yorke, the Greater Accra Chairman of the GMA sums it up: “He was a teacher, who mentored many doctors, a passionate advocate of postgraduate education. Prof treated everyone fairly and was very liked by many. You left when we were in the middle of planning the 10th Anniversary of Fiesta.  You will be sorely missed, RIP Prof. Jacob Plange-Rhule”.

Prof. Plange-Rhule was a former President of the GMA as well as the Ghana Kidney Association.

He was recently the Head of the Department of Physiology of the School of Medical Sciences, Kumasi and a Consultant Physician in the Department of Medicine, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) where he started the Hypertension and Renal Clinic and oversaw its operations for the past 20 years.

He had also been the Head of Nephrology Services at the KATH prior to taking up the rector appointment. He had over two decades of experience in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education.

According to the online portal of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, he had his undergraduate medical training at the School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

Subsequently, he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Renal Physiology from the Victorian University of Manchester, UK. Following that, he undertook his residency training in Internal Medicine.

He was a Fellow, West Africa College of Physicians; Fellow, Ghana College of Physicians and a Fellow, Royal College of Physicians, London.

Prof Plange-Rhule had extensive experience in research, particularly, among populations of African origin, in the fields of hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular disease epidemiology.

He engaged in several internationally funded research projects and published extensively in these areas.

He also contributed chapters to two books.

Source: GNA

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