Dr. Felix Konotey-Ahulu – a trailblazing legacy


By Ambassador Edward BOATENG

Dr. Felix Konotey-Ahulu, the distinguished Ghanaian physician and sickle-cell disease expert, has had a remarkable career, marked by academic excellence and groundbreaking research.

I have been very privileged to have him as my personal physician since 1994 when I first met him at the Cromwell Hospital in London. Our relationship blossomed into a very father-son, patient-doctor, intellectual debater, media conversationalist, etc. over the years.  We would spend a lot of time talking about everything. In his waiting rooms at the Cromwell Hospital and London Clinic in Hayley Street, I also got the opportunity to meet many distinguished Ghanaians.

At the end of this past year, I spent the evening of December 30, 2023 with him and his lovely English wife, Auntie Rosemary, also aged 92 at their residence in the English suburb of Hertfordshire and the joy it gave me makes me feel like sharing the story of his life.  They have three children and ten grandchildren.

At age 94, he still drives, and it was a joy to share that evening with them and my young son.  They epitomise what I will call a blessed life; one of depth, good meaning, and value. A life devoid of the materialism, hedonism and drama that surrounds many of us today. I was very glad my young son was with me to share the experience, the experience of having an impact on your community, profession, family and humanity during one’s lifetime.

Returning to Ghana after studying abroad, he directed the world’s largest sickle-cell disease clinic at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. His extensive research and collaboration identified new haemoglobin variants, earning him accolades such as the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation Award and the Gold Medal of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.

A global lecturer and Pan-Africanist, he advocated for healthcare in Africa and literacy in African languages. Despite global recognition, he remained grounded in faith, his African values, and his family.

His innovative techniques in African tonal language writing aimed to improve literacy and public health awareness. He championed social causes, including fighting racism in science and advancing healthcare access in Ghana, leaving a lasting legacy in medicine, academia and social advocacy. His personal connection to sickle-cell disease, through family members, fuelled his dedication.

Today, his efforts have significantly improved life expectancy for those with the disease in Ghana.

Born in Odumase-Krobo, Ghana, Dr. Konotey-Ahulu’s educational journey led him to prestigious institutions in the UK before returning to Ghana to serve his country. At 94, his impact continues to resonate in the medical community, a testament to a lifetime of service and compassion.

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