Tribute by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana to the memory of Pharm. James Ohemeng Kyei

“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 15:55-57, NKJV.

On occasions like this when we congregate to pay our last respects to a pharmacist, especially the stature of Pharm. James Ohemeng Kyei, we can only console ourselves with these words, that:

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come”.

“We don’t say in grief that “He is no more”, but we live in thankfulness that he lived.”

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) is painfully witnessing the putting out of the lamp of one of its illustrious and charismatic leaders who followed very much in the footsteps of the trail blazers of the profession.

The leadership of the PSGH received the news of the sudden passing away of Pharm. James Ohemeng Kyei with utter disbelief on that fateful dawn of Sunday, 4th October 2020. His passing away was a shock to the pharmacy fraternity. By 6:00 am, most pharmacists woke up to the unfortunate news on various platforms as many whose lives he touched and impacted eulogized and paid glowing tribute to him.

Pharm. James Ohemeng Kyei was admitted to the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in 1971. At the Faculty of Pharmacy, he combined his academic activities very well with general extracurricular activities. He was very much involved in the programs of the Ghana Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (GPSA), including active participation in student politics, Drug Safety Campaigns and Health Promotion activities. While on KNUST Campus, he held the following positions at one time or the other: Welfare Officer, Hall President, SRC Vice President and acting SRC President.

Pharm. James Ohemeng Kyei’s first duty post after qualification was at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in 1976 and rose through the ranks from Pharmacist to the position of Senior Pharmacist in 1981 after which he was transferred to Manhyia Hospital. Mr. Kyei was a pharmacist par excellence throughout his career, beginning from his days at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital to the pinnacle of his career.

In 1992, he was promoted to the position of Principal Pharmacist and after two years, he was appointed Programme Manager of “Cash and Carry” in Ashanti Region and moved to the Regional Health Administration from 1994 to 2000. He was promoted once again to the position of Deputy Director of Pharmaceutical Services (DDPS) at the Ashanti Regional Health Directorate where he supervised pharmaceutical services in the entire region from February 2000 to December 2003 and was given additional responsibility as the Ashanti Regional Head for the Clinical Care Department from June 2000 to December 2003.

In January 2004 Pharm. James Ohemeng Kyei was given a new challenge by being posted to Western Region as the Deputy Director of Pharmaceutical Services. A position he held to the admiration and commendation of all until he was appointed to the highest position of a pharmacist in the Ministry of Health, Chief Pharmacist and Director of Pharmaceutical Services on 1st May 2008.

After thirty-four (34) years of dedicated service, he retired from the public service in June 2010 after attaining the compulsory retirement age of 60, but he wasn’t done. For some, life begins when we are born, for others, it begins at 40 but for J.O. Kyei, life continued even after retirement from public service. He contested for the Presidency of the PSGH in August, 2011 in one of the most keenly contested election in the history of the PSGH, which he won and served the Society wholeheartedly as President for two terms.

One of the first actions of Pharm. James Ohemeng Kyei as President was to use all means including legal processes and engagements with the then Minister for Health, Hon. Alban Bagbin to get medicines excluded from the NHIS Capitation basket for the NHIS pilot in Ashanti Region.

Pharm. James Ohemeng Kyei was an action man and a man of his words. He worked tirelessly to ensure that his manifesto promises would be fulfilled. He was a man interested in the welfare of others and especially pharmacists. He made it a point to personally to visit all the sick and elderly at least once a year and when time and distance did not permit him, he delegated the PSGH Regional Branch Chairman and Executives in the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West to do so on his behalf. He made it a point to attend funerals of departed colleagues and urged all to do same.

The devotion of J.O to the profession of pharmacy and passion for humanity was infectious. He led from the front as a good general through many battles- whether it was GHOSPA’s battle of the Single Spine Salary Structure with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, Pharmacy and Pharmacists battle with their employers, issues with NHIA over inclusion of medicines in the capitation basket, or the Revolving Drug Fund being used by institutions for capital expenditures leading to shortage of medicines at health facilities, he was very much involved in the thick of affairs.

As we remember him today, nothing will make him worth remembering than continuing to press on as pharmacists in line with our motto “Amicus Humani Generis”. Pharm. J.O. Kyei was truly a friend of the human race and he will undoubtedly be missed.

The PSGH has indeed lost an illustrious member and Fellow.

May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.

Fare thee well Pharm. J.O. Kyei.

Source: Ghana Web