Lives of the fellows

Joseph Kenneth Bandoh

b.24 October 1931 d.13 December 2014
BSc Lond(1955) MRCS LRCP(1960) MB BS(1960) FRCP(1975)

Joseph Kenneth Bandoh was director of medical services, Ministry of Defence, Accra, Ghana. He was born in Bekwai in the Ashanti region of Ghana, the second child and eldest son of Chief Kwaku Bandoh of Amponya, a farmer, and Akosua Anane Bandoh. In September 1937 he started elementary school at St John’s Catholic School, Bekwai, and went on to St Augustine’s College on the Cape Coast in 1947. Two years into his course, the principal moved him into the secondary school section and in 1950 he passed his Cambridge School Leaving Examination with first class honours, exempting him from having to take the London Matriculation Examination. In 1951 he began studying biology and botany at the University College of the Gold Coast on a scholarship. He gained his BSc and, on another scholarship, went to King’s College Medical School in London to read medicine. He qualified with the conjoint diploma and MB BS in 1960.

He was a house surgeon in the casualty department of Westminster Hospital from 1960 to 1961, then a junior house physician at the Prince of Wales’ General Hospital and subsequently a resident pathologist (senior house officer) at St Giles Hospital, London.

In 1963 he returned to Ghana as a physician consultant. His first posting was to the Komfo Anokye Hospital in Kumasi. He was later posted to Korle-Bu Hospital in Accra. He was subsequently transferred to the Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital in Mampong, where he was a physician specialist. While in Mampong an opportunity arose to work in the Armed Forces. After a three-month training course at the Military Academy, he was appointed as a senior physician at the Military Hospital in January 1967. He rose through the ranks to become commanding officer of the Military Hospital in 1970. He held this post until November 1972.

After a short break, he became director of the Armed Forces Medical Services with the rank of colonel. He was promoted to brigadier general (one star general) in 1977, the first doctor to reach this rank, a position he held until his retirement from the Army in 1979. After retiring from the Ghanaian Armed Forces, he went into private practice in Accra. During his career he was personal physician to presidents, heads of state and Ghanaian royalty.

He was a founding member of the Ghana Medical Association. In 1972 he was elected chairman of the Komfo Anokye Hospital rehabilitation committee, which led to the hospital’s development as a teaching hospital for the medical school of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. From 1979 to 1984 he was a council member of the Medical and Dental Council of Ghana, and from 1995 to 2005 the first chairman of the court of examiners. He was a fellow of the West African College of Physicians, president from 1993 to 1994 and a member of the board of trustees until his death.

Bandoh was a dedicated Catholic and a member of the Knights of Marshall, a Catholic friendly society.

In February 1964 he married Evelyn Jocelyn van der Puije, also a doctor, whom he had met whilst working at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. She died in November 1990. He was survived by their six children – three sons and three daughters – and eight grandchildren.

RCP editor

[Knights and Ladies of Marshall – accessed 19 November 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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