Dr Felix Konotey-Ahulu, FGA MD(Lond), DSc(UCC), FRCP(Glasg), FRCP (Lond), FWACP DTMH(L'pool)
Creationist physician and world-class expert on sickle-cell anemia
Dr Felix Konotey-Ahulu is one of Ghana’s leading scientists (now living in the UK), and one of the world’s leading experts in sickle-cell anemia. He has lectured all around the world, and is the author of a major 643-page text, The Sickle Cell Disease Patient (Macmillan, 1991, ISBN 0333-39239-6; Tetteh-A’Domeno Co., Watford, UK, ISBN 0-9515442-2-5, 1996).
This has been very favorably reviewed. For example, one leading American hematologist, Professor Helen Ranney MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, paid this compliment in Sickle Cell Disease, Editors H Abramson, JF Bertles, Doris Wethers (C Mosby Co, publishers St Louis) 1973, page 320:
There is no single clinical experience in the United States comparable to that of Dr Konotey-Ahulu.
This section of his book shows why sickle-cell anemia is not proof of protozoa-to-people evolution.
Felix Israel Domeno Konotey-Ahulu is married to Rosemary, and their marriage celebrant was the great physician turned expository preacher Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones. They now have three adult children and ten grandchildren.
Summary Curriculum Vitae
DR F I D KONOTEY-AHULU MB BS MD (Lond) Hon DSc (UCC) FRCP (Lond) FRCP (Glasg) DTMH (L’pool) FGA FGCP FWACP FAAS FTWAS was born in Manya Krobo tribe, Ghana.
Educated in Basel/Presbyterian Mission Schools, and Achimota School where he took the Cambridge School Certificate (Grade I) and the London Matriculation (1st Division), he went to University College of the Gold Coast (Ghana), then to London University where he read Medicine (University College London & Westminster Hospital School of Medicine). He graduated MB BS, MRCS LRCP in 1959. After full registration in the UK he joined the Ghana Civil Service as Medical Officer. Post-graduate studies took him to Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, Westminster Hospital, Royal Postgraduate Medical School Hammersmith, and Professor (later Dame) Sheila Sherlock's Department of Medicine at the Royal Free Hospital London, where he was Research Fellow.
He went back to Ghana to Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and University of Ghana Medical School as Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer. He researched into Clinical Haemoglobinopathy and, together with Professors Bela Ringelhann (Hungary), Hermann Lehmann (Cambridge), and others he discovered Haemoglobin Korle-Bu and Haemoglobin Osu-Christiansborg. He was Physician Specialist at Korle-Bu Hospital, and Ridge Hospital, Accra, and Director of the erstwhile Ghana Institute of Clinical Genetics. In 1972 he was National Foundation/March of Dimes Visiting Lecturer to 11 American Medical Schools including Yale, George Washington, Howard, Cornell, Rockefeller, Indianapolis, Tennessee and Johns Hopkins.
He was Schofield Fellow, Christ's College, Cambridge (1970–71), and in 1976 he gave Edinburgh University’s MacArthur Postgraduate Lecture. He has lectured in Turkey, Brazil, Greece, Singapore, Australia, India, Hungary, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden (Stockholm) and, on the African continent, in Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa and Egypt. He did Grand Rounds at the NIH (Bethesda), George Washington University, Johns Hopkins, Howard University, Illinois and Chicago Universities, and in Cook County Hospital, Chicago.
He was once Editor of the Ghana Medical Journal, Chairman of a Ghanaian Government Committee to investigate Hospital Fees, Member of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Human Genetics, and a temporary Consultant to the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Medical Department in London. In March 1980, he was the University of Ghana Alumni Lecturer on the subject ‘Genes and Society, and Society and Genes’. Professor Roland Scott invited him as ‘Annual Visiting Professor’ to Howard University College of Medicine, and as Honorary Consultant to its Centre for Sickle Cell Disease, Washington DC.
- He was one of the recipients of the Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation Award ‘for outstanding research in Sickle Cell Anaemia’ (other recipients included Roland B Scott, Linus Pauling (Nobel Prize Winner), Hermann Lehmann, Bela Ringelhann, James Bowman, Max F Perutz (Nobel Prize Winner), JV Neel, Charles Whitten, and Graham Serjeant, in Philadelphia 1972, when Konotey-Ahulu was chosen to give the Keynote Address).
- In 1974 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences of which he was a Fellow (FGA), for ‘the most outstanding contribution to knowledge in the Medical Sciences by a Ghanaian between 1952 and 1973’.
- In 1976 in London he received the Guinness Award for Scientific Achievement (GASA) in the Commonwealth ‘in recognition of his work in applying science to the service of the community’.
- In November 1999, he received from President Abdou Diouf of Senegal the 1998 Third World Academy of Sciences Award for outstanding work in the Basic Medical Sciences. The Citation of the Trieste-based TWAS Award stated not only his ‘outstanding contributions to haemoglobinopathy’, but also ‘first description of some 5 new physical signs in Clinical Medicine, invention of the “Male Procreative Superiority Index” (MPSI) which shed some light on aspects of African Anthropogenetics, and for his insistence on an ethical dimension to genetic programmes, and highlighting public health measures as the best tool for long-term sickle-cell patient management.’
- On 5 September 2018, the University of Hertfordshire presented Dr Konotey-Ahulu with the award of Doctor of Science (Hon. DSc), in recognition of contributions over several decades (since 1965), in the realm of Sickle Cell Disease. Note: in the UK university system, the Doctor of Science is officially regarded as a prestigious and rarely awarded higher doctorate, recognizing a substantial body of published original work of exceptional standard that makes the candidate an internationally recognized leader in his field. The citation began:
Science is, in essence, a search for the truth. It is this search for truth that has driven Felix to make very significant discoveries in the area of sickle cell disease. As a scientist, he is not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom if it conflicts with his own discoveries. [Rest of citation and acceptance speech are available on Dr Konotey-Ahulu’ blog blog.sicklecell.md.]
Reading in New African (Aug/Sept 2004) that he was voted among ‘The One Hundred Greatest Africans Of All Time’, he promptly pleaded in the October issue that he be replaced by Aggrey of Africa whom he proved by a 1,600-word article to be altogether more worthy of such honour. In September 2005, he gave 5 consecutive public lectures at the British Council Accra, on Contemporary Health Issues, in commemoration of the 115th Anniversary of the Scripture Union in Ghana.
African health research
In March 1998, Dr Konotey-Ahulu was appointed ‘Chief Visiting Clinician/Scientist, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)’, and he is on the Editorial Board of the African Journal of Health Sciences of The African Forum of Health Sciences. Between 1965 and 2005 he published more than 200 articles, letters, editorials, book reviews, and comments. He has been round Sub-Saharan African countries studying AIDS, and has published What is AIDS? [227 pages], The Sickle Cell Disease Patient [643 pages], and one booklet, Sickle Cell Disease — The Case For Family Planning [32 pages]. Ghana’s Managing Trustees of The VALCO TRUST FUND supported much of his research. He is Former Examiner at the University of Ghana Medical School. In April 2000, he was appointed ‘Dr Kwegyir Aggrey Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics, University of Cape Coast, Ghana’ after having been awarded an Honorary DSc Degree. His Inaugural Lecture was titled: ‘Human Genetics and the Ghanaian African: How The New Genetics Affects You’. In 2000 he was elected Fellow of The Third World Academy of Sciences.
In June 1973 Dr Konotey-Ahulu was invited to join The World Council of Churches ‘Consultation on Genetics and Quality of Life’ chaired by Dr Robert Edwards, and more than 30 years later he is still in contact with Bob Edwards through the Ethics Committee of The Cromwell Hospital, London SW5 where Konotey-Ahulu was Consultant Physician from 1983 to July 2005. To present the African Viewpoint in an International Symposium on ‘The Human Genome Diversity Project’ published by Politics and The Life Sciences (PLS), Lake Superior University, USA, in September 1999 he titled his paper ‘The Human Genome Diversity Project: Cogitations of an African Native’ [pages 317–322], where Dr Konotey-Ahulu traced the Sickle Cell Gene in his ancestry, with patients’ names, generation by generation back to AD 1670, aided by the fact that the hereditary rheumatic syndrome was known to African tribes by specific onomatopoeic names (hemkom, chwechweechwe, nwiiwii, ahotutuo, nuidudui) for centuries before it was first described in the USA in 1910. This exercise in genetic genealogy, rare in Medical Archives, helped him develop a discipline of genetic epidemiology to show how polygamy in his forebears produced gene combinations with variations in phenotypic expression of the hereditary syndrome. His invention of the Male Procreative Superiority Index (MPSI), which shed new light on African Anthropogenetics, is the result of this personalised genetic epidemiology.
In October 2002, the Medical Research Council of South Africa, with Georgetown University, Washington DC, invited him to take part in an International Conference on: ‘Developing Sustainable Health Care Delivery Systems in Africa for the New Millennium’. He spoke on: (1) ‘An African Physician’s Personal Analysis of his Continent’s Sustainable Health Care Delivery Prognosis For The New Millennium’ and (2) ‘Setting Priorities and Overcoming Obstacles: AIDS In Africa — Obstacles to Health Care Delivery’.
Dr Konotey-Ahulu has recently developed a method for writing African Tonal Languages which he has explained in a book titled Mother Tongue — Introducing The Tadka Phonation Technique For Speaking An African Tonal Language: Krobo/Dangme-Ga of South-East Ghana [82 pages — ISBN 0-9515442-4-1. T-A’D Co Watford, UK, 2001]. The book will help educate some Africans to read their own language more easily and quickly than has been possible hitherto. It will also explain the basic principles of Public Health information about genetic and acquired disease to those who do not read English, and promises to be a great tool in Adult Education. If it proved helpful, the book would be translated into French and Portuguese.
Dr Konotey-Ahulu has developed a website www.sicklecell.md which is frequently visited, and which he uses to answer questions posed from around the world. He also has a website with his personal experiences of AIDS on the African continent www.aidsinafrica.co.uk
Professor Konotey-Ahulu is a Christian, plays the piano, and has written a Millennium Hymn of 7 verses, complete with melody, titled: All Time Pre- and Post-2000 AD, which The University of Cape Coast Choir sang after his Inaugural Address.
Dr Konotey-Ahulu is a staunch biblical creationist, and has ably defended the truth of Christianity in the Ghanaian Times and the British Medical Journal. His faith also means that he is strongly pro-life, and has denounced genetic testing for sickle-cell disease with a view to aborting babies with the disease. Most recently, he has answered the latest antitheistic propaganda from Richard Dawkins and the racist arguments from James Watson.