AfHEA tribute to a great public health leader

Dr. Frank Nyonator
Dr. Frank Nyonator

The sudden passing of Dr. Frank Nyonator has struck the AfHEA family hard. This sad news was conveyed to us on August 13, 2018. The pain, grief and the feeling of helplessness seems unbearable. Indeed, a heavy branch has fallen and a big vacuum created by his sudden departure. But what does the bible teach about death? "For dust you are and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:19). Frank as we fondly called him, passed on after brief ill health. He was a quiet, supportive and a modest man with a strong sense of humour. Frank was a giant in African public health, especially in health financing, economics, policy and research methods, and a senior founding member of AfHEA.

His recent assignment for AfHEA was as the Chairman of the Fundraising committee for the AfHEA 2019 5th Biennial conference and a member of the Local Organising Committee (LOC).

His support to AfHEA dates back to 2009 where he tirelessly supported to host the inaugural conference. Frank was involved in the set-up of an office for AfHEA in 2010 when he was the Director of the PPME Division of the Ghana Health Service. In fact AfHEA's first employee was stationed in his Division and he ensured that every process necessary for the organizational set-up was well managed and financed. Our staff recalls that he would always say, "If you need my help in any way, please let me know," and he meant it. He was willing to listen and never short of wise advice and counsel.  He never shirked his responsibilities.

He also played a crucial role in the conception and setting up of the Ghana Health Economics and Policy Association (GHEA). Not only has Frank played his role effectively within the community and family of AfHEA, but he had been playing a leading role in the development of Ghana's UHC program. He had much earlier also been one of the pioneers of the CHPS program in Ghana.

Frank was so hard working that even when he retired from active service at the Ghana Health service, he took up jobs, first at the University of Health and Allied Sciences, UHAS, Ho , and second as the Chief of Party of USAID's Evaluate for Health (E4H) where he worked until his passing.

We can no longer hear your voice, but we know you are watching from where you are. You will forever be our hero. We are all trying to cope with your passing, and dwelling on memories we have shared individually with you. We will find strength to carry on, and continue to make you proud. You will be deeply missed.

May Frank's soul rest in peace, may his life remain a shining example for all of us and may his brilliant ideas continue to live long after him!

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On behalf of the LOC and the AfHEA Secretariat

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