Up-close with Dr Frank Owusu-Sekyere, New Director of Medical Affairs (KBTH), paediatrician, writer
Dr Frank Owusu-Sekyere initially had the dream of becoming a journalist but life had another plan for him.
He is an experienced paediatrician who started off as a house officer, rising through the ranks to his current position as the Director of Medical Affairs of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) in Accra.
Having practiced as a doctor for 21 years, he is a Consultant Paediatrician at the Department of Child Health, KBTH, and a part-time lecturer at the University of Ghana Medical School and the Accra College of Medicine.
Dr Owusu-Sekyere is a beacon of hope for many children with his skillset in Paediatric Cardiology and Paediatric Intensive Care.
Dr Owusu-Sekyere with his wife of 17 years, Mrs Cybil Owusu-Sekyere and children, Nigel and Scarlett
He is also a fellow of the West African College of Physicians and holds a certificate from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, United Kingdom.
Dr Owusu-Sekyere is the chairman of the Korle-Bu Doctors Association (KODA), the Chapter Secretary of the West African College of Physicians (WACP), a member of the Accreditation Committee of the Medical and Dental Council (MDC) and has served as secretary, vice-chairman and chairman of the Ghana Medical Association- Greater Accra Division.
In fact, all the accolades of this doctor cannot be listed here because this is a short profile. However, his role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic (Ghana Medical Association COVID-19 committee chairman) cannot go unrecognised.
Dr Owusu-Sekyere with his youngest child, Franklin
Although he contracted the virus four times in his line of work, he thankfully escaped unharmed.
If you are an avid reader of The Mirror, you would be happy to note that he is the brain behind our column, Mirror Doctor, which educates readers about different diseases and conditions.
For the past 17 years, he has shared a life of love and laughter with his spouse, Mrs Cybil Owusu-Sekyere, and their three children, Nigel, Scarlett and Franklin.
Read on as we delve into his personal and professional life.
The Mirror (TM): Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Dr Owusu-Sekyere (DOS): Of course! I was born into a very big family where I am the eleventh out of a total of 27 children and second out of three on my mother’s side.
My late father, Nana Kwame Attakorah-Mainoo, was a rich business man who traded in cars, lands, owned an oil palm plantation and had over seven wives.
My late mother, Yaa Serwaa Manu, on the other hand was a homemaker, a photojournalist of The Mirror and the best mother ever. Both parents hail from Mampong, Ashanti Region.
I had my primary education at the Wesley College Practice Primary in Kumasi, Ashanti Region, and continued to the Amaniampong Senior High School where I had my ‘O’Level education, then to the Apam Senior High School for my ‘A’ Level.
I was born in Accra but grew up in Kumasi with my father and superb step-mothers, Auntie Theresa Achiaa and Vida Mensah after my parents divorced. I am an Ashanti and a Christian.
Dr Owusu-Sekyere (middle) and colleagues accepting a ventilator donated to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit of KBTH
TM: What is your background in medicine?
DOS: I graduated from the University of Ghana Medical School belonging to the class of 2002. After Housemanship, I enrolled into the WACP paediatric programme, attaining my membership in 2007 and fellowship in 2017.
All my working years have been in KBTH, less a few years training in London. Prior to my appointment, I was the head of the Rebecca Akufo-Addo (First Lady of Ghana) Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the KBTH.
TM: Doc, why medicine?
DOS: Somehow, I got coerced into medicine because that seems to be the path for brilliant students. Thankfully I still practice my first love, journalism, to a certain measure.
Dr Owusu-Sekyere with his children at a Liverpool game in England, UK
After medical school, I contemplated utilising my skills in the UK as was the trend but my experience with racism served as the jolt I needed to come home.
In the early 2000’s while working at a hospital in the UK, a drunk homeless man refused my service as a healthcare personnel using racial invectives.
TM: How has the last 21 years been for you professionally?
DOS: God has been kind to me. I have led significant groups and institutions and have built my personality as a result. I have learnt to work with people of all shades, characters and temperament.
My career has been both challenging and eye-opening. I have shed tears when I lose patients and jubilated when they recover. I am eternally grateful to the Rebecca Akufo-Addo Foundation for setting up the PICU here in KBTH.
TM: What are some of your hobbies and interests outside work?
DOS: I love playing tennis and actually played for my team back in UGMS. I play football as well, love listening to country music and a huge Liverpool fan and writing.
My favourite sport stars are Roger Federer and Serena Williams for Tennis, Lionel Messi and Mohammed Sallah for football. Brad Paisley is my favourite country star.
Dr Owusu-Sekyere (second from right) with some old school friends from medical school
Plan for new role as Director of Medical Affairs
TM: can you tell us more about your new role?
DOS: It is a challenging one and I hope to make a difference within the four-year term. I assist the Chief Executive Officer and coordinate the activities of 19 units, ensuring the highest quality care for our patients.
TM: What do you hope to achieve?
DOS: I plan on restructuring the hospital both aesthetically and in service delivery. We need to bring onboard the private sector to support wards and units of KBTH.
This will help maintain the hospital, pay attention to equipment stock and also support the needy.
I believe that fostering relationships with foreign universities such as Yale in the USA to offer in-person and online training for our graduates would be helpful, while facilitating the process of Ghanaian doctors coming back home to work.
I also think there should be more branches of KBTH where premium service can be offered and a realistic fee for service charged as done in private hospitals.
Dr Owusu-Sekyere loves to play tennis
The income generated from these branches can then support the main branch.
Research, which is important for development, would also be given attention under my tenure.
Again, I will ensure the quality training of all hospital staff to ensure competence of our health force.
It is my hope that with teamwork and dedication, KBTH will command its pride of place again. I count on the support of all to succeed.