It was on the 10th of April, 2020 that the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Ghana Association of Doctors in Residency (GADOR) and its entire membership received with great shock and sadness the news of your sudden passing, Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule.
You were a great Teacher, Consultant Physician, and a Mentor who served our country well in the area of academia.
Over the years you have been actively involved in the teaching and training of medical students, House Officers and Resident doctors, while pursuing excellence alongside in the fields of Research, Clinical practice, and Advocacy. As a lecturer with the KNUST Medical School, you left an indelible impression on all you taught, helping to form and shape many future leaders and clinicians. Your commitment to duty as a physician at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital was excellent, and your work ethic impeccable. You served as a mentor to many doctors not only within our nation but also abroad. It is through your support that they have been instrumental in not just combating this current Covid-19 pandemic, but also the usual chronic medical illnesses that plague us all. Indeed, your impact on the future of the nation will be felt for generations to come.
Becoming the Rector of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2015 began a most eventful fiveyear tenure at the College. The good works that you started at the College all speak up for you and will form the foundations of the legacy you have left behind for us all.
In the earlier days of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, your influence was instrumental in policy development concerning allocation of resources. You spoke up for Resident Doctors following the Ministry of Health’s directive to all staff on study leave to report back to their primary facilities and in a single move clarified the spirit of the directive, clearing the way for them to contribute their quota at their training facilities – which incidentally are designated holding/treatment facilities for COVID-19 confirmed cases in these times. Prof, your Residents are still on the battlefield for mother Ghana as per your last order handed down to us in this pandemic – who will now blow the victory horn to call us back to rest when this crisis passes?
It never escaped us that you brought not just your great leadership qualities to bear – even in the midst of many challenges as our Rector – but also your fatherly love and care in order to keep the College moving forward. Your views and vision for the College and Post-graduate medical training in Ghana were clear.
You gave your blessing to the formation of GADOR – a body you described as being long overdue. We remember how decisively you handled our last major challenge over the implementation of the free Residency training policy by Government. In spite of the challenges of untimely reimbursement which could possibly cascade into reduced enrolment into the College, you worked with the leadership of GADOR/GMA and the Minister for Health to resolve the situation at hand, inducting the first batch of Specialists in December 2019 to benefit from the ratified policy for the 2018/2019 academic year.
As GADOR today, we are already contemplating our next challenge on the horizon but you will not be with us to see it through. Our battles will henceforth be that much harder without your wise counsel, fatherly love, and friendly but firm guidance.
It breaks our hearts that you were unceremoniously taken away from all of us, but we are comforted to know that your legacy is undeniable, and will bear fruits with us wherever we go.
Boss Gyikua, we cannot find the right words to express our deepest condolences. Thank you for sharing this great man with us.
To his daughters, we are grateful for you lending us your father and giving the rest of us the chance to share the privilege of calling him ‘Father’ too.
In John 11:25 the Master said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” With this promise we are reassured that we will meet again, and so are comforted enough to say until then, “Rest in Perfect Peace Prof JPR…”