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Memorial for Prof Ohene-Frempong on June 24

BY: Rosalind K. Amoh
Memorial for Prof Ohene-Frempong on June 24
Memorial for Prof Ohene-Frempong on June 24

The family and the Sickle Cell Foundation, Ghana (SCFG) have announced that the final funeral rites of the late renowned world haematologist, Professor Kwaku Ohene Frempong, will be held at the Accra International Conference Centre on Saturday, June 24.

According to the family, this is in accordance with the wish of the Founding President of the SCFG who passed away on May 7, in the USA after battling an aggressive progressing cancer.

The event, expected to attract stakeholders in the medical field and specifically with interest in sickle cell disease, will be marked with memorials and tributes, just as the late professor had requested.

A professor of pediatrics and Director Emeritus of the comprehensive Sickle Cell Centre at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, USA, Prof. Ohene-Frempong has been an advocate for the disease in Ghana and around the world and has researched extensively on the condition, devoting an increasing amount of his time to Sickle Cell Disease work in Africa.

Prof. Ohene-Frempong

Born on March 7, 1946 in Kukurantumi in the Eastern Region, he obtained his Ordinary and Advanced Level certificates from Prempeh College

His excellent academic and impressive athletics credentials earned him scholarship to go to Yale University in 1966 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in. He continued to Yale School of Medicine and graduated in 1975.

He then proceeded to Tulane University where he established the Sickle Cell Centre of Southern Louisiana and served as its first Medical Director. He also became the Director of the Section of Paediatric Hematology-Oncology and Associate Professor of Paediatrics at Tulane University of Medicine

In 1986, Prof Ohene-Frempong returned to Philadelphia and became the Director of the Sickle Cell Programme under the Division of Hematology, under his leadership, the division earned a grant from the National Institutes of Health to set up one of US's 10 comprehensive Sickle Cell Centres.

Passionate about Ghana and keen to bring his knowledge to benefit his community, he undertook his doctoral thesis on “Child Health in Ghanaian Community” as a result of what he was exposed to when he worked at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi in 1974.

He thus extended his research work to Ghana and led the Philadelphia Hospital to team up with other stakeholders in Ghana to undertake project in screening newborn babies to know their sickle cell status in Kumasi and Tikrom.

That project led to the expansion of the sickle cell centres in Ghana as well as became the led advocate for replicating that project nationwide as well as make it an integral part for healthcare for babies in Ghana at all health centres.

He also founded the Sickle Cell Foundation in Ghana to provide a voice, support, advocacy and intervention for SCD patients in the country.

He run regular clinics for patients at the Sickle Cell Clinic at the 37 Military Hospital .

Prof Ohene-Frempong also served as a member of the Sickle Cell Disease Advisory Committee of the National Institute of Health (1986-1990) and was also elected the President of the SCD Association of America in 1991 and ended his two-term in 1998.

Sportsman

While at Yale, he captained the college’s track and field team and set both indoor and outfoot records in high hurdles. He continued to represent Ghana and competed in 1970, set a new national record in the 110 metres, a record that was broken in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympic Games.

During his graduation from Yale University in 1970, he was awarded the William Mallory Award for the Best Student-Athlete.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), gave him the Silver Anniversary Award in 1975 an award that recognised six distinguished former student-athletes on their 25th anniversary as college graduates.

In 1999, he was named as one of the first inductee into the International Scholar Athlete Hall of Fame alongside, Arthur Ashe, the first black tennis star.

In 2001, as part of Yale University's 300th anniversary, he was selected as one of nine former athletes of Yale as the first recipients of the Willam H.W. Bush Lifetime of Leadership Award.