On Sunday 12th March 2023, Professor Enyonam Yao Kwawukume, who together with his wife Dr Susu Bridget Kwawukume, founded Ghana’s premier private Medical School, the Family Health University Medical School, Teshie, Accra turned seventy (70) years old. A group of family and friends met to celebrate the occasion at their home.
This was after his wife and children had overruled his decision not to celebrate his 70th birthday, as men often do to non-amusement of ladies! Like Prof, I do not like big birthday parties, if any at all. However, the three-score-and-ten can be exempted on account of its biblical significance among others.
At the end of 2022, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) put Ghana’s population at about 31 million. The average life expectancy is 64.9 years, with females averaging 66.1 years and males 63.8 years. The percentage of Ghanaians between age 15-64 is 59.5%. Those between 65-69 years constitute 3.6% of Ghana’s population. For those seventy and above, they constitute only 2.73% of Ghana’s population, the endangered species Prof Kwawukume has just joined. This is where I think seventieth birthdays may deserve special celebration.
So, who is Professor Enyonam Yao Kwawukume?
Prof Yao Kwawukume
A product of Mawuli School, Ho, Prof Kwawukume graduated from the University of Ghana Medical School in 1979 as a medical doctor. Together with his wife Dr Susu Kwawukume, Prof is the co-founder and president of the Family Health University College (FHUC) which comprises the Family Health Medical School, the premier private medical school in Ghana, the School of Nursing and Midwifery, and the Family Health Hospital. Their aim is to help improve education and healthcare manpower in the sub-region, Africa and beyond. Foreign students come from Nigeria, Cameroon and Egypt.
Prof Kwawukume headed the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, the University of Ghana for nine years. He is an honorary Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. In 1997, he received the Badoe Teaching Award for being the best overall lecturer and was also awarded the “Health Laurette” by Impact Africa Summit in 2016. Prof Kwawukume is a past chairman of the West African College of Surgeons, and a past president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Ghana. His vast and innovative contributions in the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology include being;
“the first surgeon in the world to perform a Bloodless Myomectomy during a caesarean section using a tourniquet. He also co-invented the Medical Eligibility Criteria WHEEL for Reproductive Health and Family Planning which is now used worldwide after approval and adoption by the WHO.” (Quote)
Prof Kwawukume loves writing and is the author of two foundational textbooks, Comprehensive Obstetrics and Comprehensive Gynaecology in the Tropics, and the co-author of Comprehensive Reproductive and Family Planning in the Tropics. These textbooks have been described as the first written by Africans for Africans and the world and have contributed to a high success rate in examinations for postgraduate trainees and medical students who use them.
FHUC Medical School
In 2020, the first batch of thirty medical students of FHUC graduated to become medical doctors. In 2021, FHUC Medical School successfully produced fifty-four new doctors for Ghana. The third batch of medical students is due to graduate in September 2023.
A Joy FM report on 16th February 2023 titled “FHMS trained doctor excels at Greater Accra Regional Hospital” stated;
“An alumnus of the Family Health Medical School, Dr Elorm Adzei Tuadra has recently received the Outstanding Worker award from the Greater Accra Regional Hospital (GARH) for being their Team C’s Overall Outstanding House Officer for 2022. Dr Adzei graduated from Family Health Medical School with the premier class of 2020, after undergoing a six-year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB) programme.”
Family Health University College started in a garage at 51 Guggisberg Street, Korle Bu, Korle Gonno in 1997 as a Diagnostic Centre called Family Health Group. In 2007, Family Health University College moved to its current permanent location at Teshie, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and directly opposite the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).
From the very humble beginnings as a Diagnostic Centre in the 1990s, Family Health University College, the vision of Prof and Dr Mrs Susu Kwawukume has today, blossomed into the Family Health University College comprising a Medical School, a Nursing and Midwifery School, and a Hospital located at Teshie, Accra.
Despite the allure of easier and probably better opportunities elsewhere, Prof has doggedly with tenacity and resilience stayed the course in Ghana pursuing his commitment to contribute to national development through Medicine, in spite of all the difficulties and frustrations pioneers go through!
An innovation Prof Kwawukume has introduced into the curriculum of final year Medical Students is “Leadership and Management Training.” This is to give them a foretaste of what happens in the real world as fresh doctors, and their relationship with health personnel they will meet, some of whom may be old enough to be their parents, before they get there. Among others, Humility, Humaneness and Integrity, they are taught, must be their guiding principles.
The Professor has also instituted a scholarship Scheme of $10,500/annum for one student annually. An Endowment Fund to take care of brilliant but needy students is to be launched at the end of March 2023.
Prof Kwawukume’s selfless leadership shows everywhere. Structures on the campus are constantly “work in progress” with renovations.
Prof, on the occasion of your 70th Birthday, the Board of Trustees for the Endowment Fund led by Dr Naa Alhassan Andani, former MD Stanbic Bank, Council Members, Faculty, Staff, workers and students of the Family Health University College say AYEKOO and CONGRATULATIONS! We wish you God’s continued blessings as you continue to contribute towards Ghana’s Development.
It is my hope that, many more Ghanaians will be inspired by the patriotism of Prof Kwawukume and follow suit. For, as a foreign General educated me during my cadet training outside in the early 1970s, “your little country Ghana produces more brains per capita than many big countries do!” He told me that, they were Ghanaians in industry, academia and indeed NASA sending humans to the moon and back!
So, why have we slid backwards from the shining Black Star of Africa we were at independence to our current situation of low morale? We have to eschew greed, arrogance and indiscipline, and reengineer our way back to patriotism, love of country and discipline as we were taught in the early 1960s.
Once again, Happy 70th Birthday, Prof Enyonam Yao Kwawukume! God bless you for your leadership, selfless service and devotion to God and country!
Fellow Ghanaians, WAKE UP!
Brig Gen Dan Frimpong (Rtd)
Former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association
Family Health University College