By Medge Owen
During the summer of 2014, while many of us lightheartedly took the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge,” a dear friend in Ghana was bravely fighting the relentless advance of ALS. Dr. Kennedy “Ken” Buntugu, age 46, died on October 20, 2014. His death left a tremendous void at Ridge Regional Hospital that remains to this day. He was one of only two consultant obstetricians in a hospital with over 9,000 deliveries. Medical knowledge and expertise aside, Ken was a leader who earned the respect of those around him. He was trusted and kind with a positive nature and a wonderful sense of humor.
Ken was born the eldest of nine children in the Upper East Region of Ghana. He excelled in his studies and earned a scholarship to study medicine in Ukraine. During his OBGYN residency at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Ken met Pokua, a gracious woman and an anesthesiologist. They married in 2001 and were blessed with three lovely children. We met Ken in 2008 when he was posted to Ridge Regional Hospital. We were quickly impressed with his strong work ethic and ability to stay calm under pressure. There were few resources within the hospital and many critically ill obstetric patients, so even though Ken was diagnosed with ALS in 2009, he continued working until March 2014 when it became difficult for him to walk. Ken bravely faced his illness and never wanted pity because he was a man of strong faith and trust in God. He will be remembered for his warm smile and genuine kindness to patients, staff members and Kybele volunteers alike. Ken, we miss you very much. May you rest in peace.