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Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule - a personal reflection

Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule, Rector of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons (GCPS) passed away on 10 April 2020 at the University of Ghana Medical Centre after contracting COVID-19. It was confirmed that he did have an underlying condition.

Professor Ali Jawad, RCP vice president (global), reflects on his life and contribution as a member of the Royal College of Physicians family.

Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule, BSc PhD MB ChB FWACP FGCP FRCP was born in Winneba, in Central Region of South Ghana, on the 27th July 1957. He studied medicine at the School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and graduated MB ChB in 1984. Soon after he obtained his PhD in renal physiology from Victoria University of Manchester, now the University of Manchester. He returned to Ghana to train in Internal medicine. He became consultant physician in the Department of Medicine, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) where he started hypertension and Renal Clinics. Later on, he became head of nephrology services at KATH. Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule taught physiology and was head of the department of physiology of the School of Medical Sciences, Kumasi.

He was elected fellow of the Royal College of Physicians under Bye-Law 117 in 2001. He was also a fellow of the West African College of Physicians. Professor Plange-Rhule was appointed vice-rector in 2011 and later as rector in October 2015.

I last met Professor Plange-Rhule in his office at GCPS in Accra at the end of October 2019. He was a supporter of the medical training initiative and he was keen for more Ghanaian doctors to come to UK for training for up to 2 years. We also discussed in details increasing the collaboration of both colleges to further postgraduate medical training. I thanked him for accommodating the College (and BSR) 4-day rheumatology training course and workshop at GCPS.

He was deeply engaged in teaching medical students and in postgraduate medical education. He was also an experienced researcher and published widely in the fields of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in populations of African origin. He was deputy director of the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

He was an excellent leader and was president of the Ghana Medical Association and Ghana Kidney Association.

Jacob Plange-Rhule will be sadly missed by his family, friends, colleagues and his patients. He is survived by his wife Gyikua, a paediatrician, and three children.

Ali Jawad, Hans Sloane Fellow and vice president (global), RCP

12 April 2020