Global Health in Ghana (Accra)
This program focuses on Maternal, Child Health and Pediatrics, Infectious Diseases, Non-Communicable Diseases, Rehabilitative Care, and some aspects of Adult Medicine (depending on the site). Other focus areas may be available upon request.
Ghana, located in West Africa, has a long and rich cultural history, and is considered one of the most stable and democratic countries in Africa. Ghana is the ideal gateway for a colorful, cultural experience in Africa with its robust political and economic systems, vibrant cities, and friendly people. However, despite its strong economic growth and a stable political system, there are still gaps and progress to be made in providing quality healthcare for children and their families throughout the country. Ghana has been working tirelessly to improve maternal and child health indices, including the overall health of the population in the country. However, social and economic conditions have continued to impact people's health, especially that of children with malaria, respiratory tract infections, anemia, and malnutrition, the leading contributors to childhood morbidity in Ghana.
Social and environmental determinants of health such as, nutrition, physical environment, family income status, social and community support, water and sanitation, housing, rather than individual factors such as genetics or other behavioral causes, are significant contributors to the cause and burden of disease. In the bustling capital city of Accra, see firsthand the various factors that directly affect the health of children and families living in Ghana.
Participants will have the opportunity to join local medical professionals and health workers in our partner sites in Accra. Participants will get to see how these professionals provide care in a resource-poor environment, overcoming challenges such as the financial and structural constraints of the healthcare system itself and the social determinants that lead to illness in children and their families.
Clinical Rotations & Public Health Placements
Public Children's Hospital, Accra: This site is a public children's hospital located in the central business district of the capital city. It dates back to 1925. It is a historic landmark in medical and global health because Dr. Cicely Williams, the first director of Maternal and Child Welfare for the World Health Organization, Geneva, worked at this site in her early career. She was instrumental in advancing the field of maternal and child health in developing nations. She first diagnosed, identified the cause, found prevention and a cure for the disease Kwashiorkor, a severe form of protein-energy malnutrition.
This children's hospital (108-bed capacity) provides both primary and specialist pediatric care services, mainly in the Accra metropolis and the outskirts of Accra. Though several diseases are treated and prevented here, the hospital specializes in the management of malnutrition. It has expanded to become a general pediatric hospital serving the southern half of the country and caters to all socioeconomic classes, particularly the lower and middle class. The hospital is the only hospital in Ghana that is dedicated solely to pediatrics. Additionally, it pursues preventive services and active disease surveillance. Furthermore, the hospital offers maternal health services such as family planning, nutrition, rehabilitation, and physiotherapy services for children.
Students would learn from the dynamic team of health professionals and health workers in Ghana, including pediatricians, nurses, house officers, medical officers, residents, nutritionists, physiotherapists, and laboratory technicians. With these experiences, they would learn about various aspects of the healthcare system.
Placement and rotations would include the Outpatient Department (OPD), Emergency Department (ER), and the various admission wards. Additionally, the experience may include the weekly special Clinics such as HIV/AIDS, Asthma, Sickle Cell, Neurodevelopmental, Pediatric Surgical, Wellness, and ENT Nurses Clinics. Furthermore, the experience would consist of the Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit, where participants will learn various aspects of the management of malnutrition. Also, the Public Health Unit staff may engage participants based on the prevailing schedule during their program in child welfare clinics in outstations, school visits, immunization campaigns, health education, and awareness outreach opportunities. In addition, experiences may include home visits for follow-up care, visits to social centers, and attendance of events of national organizations involved in medical education and public health activities. Participants also could visit the surrounding markets, recreational facilities, and social centers around the areas and visit some national program units and other facilities of stakeholders in health in the country.
Over 2 million people live in Ghana's bustling capital, Accra, situated along the Atlantic coast of West Africa and spread out over 60 miles. Accra serves as the Greater Accra region's economic and administrative hub. It also boasts the largest number and variety for nightlife, restaurants, and hotels in Ghana. The central business district of Accra contains the city's main banks and department stores and an area known as the Ministries, where Ghana's government administration is concentrated. Ghana has a tropical climate and is hot and humid, especially near the south coast. The 'dry season' is December to April, but that is also the hottest time of year, with temperatures in the mid 80's.
Things to Do
Accra is a city in constant movement, from the lively Makola market to the city's picturesque fishing harbor and the must-see Arts and Cultural Sales Center. Not far from the city, Bojo Beach is a popular destination, unspoiled because of its distance from the city. Labadi Beach, located in the city itself, is very active during the day but the pace becomes exhilarating at night when it becomes one of Accra's best nightspots, with a variety of pubs and eateries with great ocean views.
Accra has an exciting and trendy nightlife scene, with various pubs and nightclubs lining the various downtown areas and many local restaurants to try out and enjoy the local cuisine. For history buffs, head for the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park to see the former President's mausoleum and museum. Other tourist attractions include the National Museum of Ghana, the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Theatre, the Accra Centre for National Culture, the Jamestown lighthouse, and the Ohene Djan Stadium.
Aburi Botanical Gardens, about 20 miles north of Accra, is where locals relax and enjoy a picnic, boasting beautifully manicured lawns and a collection of trees and plants from Ghana and abroad. Shai Hills Reserve is another day trip option throughout the reserve. Visitors can enjoy a horseback ride through the reserve and observe baboons, parrots and antelopes roaming freely.
Accommodations & Homestays
Participants would be accommodated in a home located at Mamprobi, Accra which is about 15-20 minutes away from the clinical partner site. This is the rented home of CFHI Medical Director, where at least one Local Coordinator will also reside. The house is a spacious 6-bedroom home, and depending on the number of participants per cohort, rooms may be shared. The house includes a kitchen, living room, two bathrooms, and a good water supply. Rooms are comfortable with beds, closets, and fans. Air-conditioning is also present in each room, but due to high power cost, students who choose to use air conditioner will pay for this cost separately at the program site.
Please do note that there are energy and power outages in Ghana, which sometimes leads to an intermittent power supply. When this happens, students will be provided with rechargeable lanterns for night-time or can use their torchlights which is part of their recommended items to pack.
Note that this accommodation is for only those that are attending CFHI Programs in Accra. Other participants are not entitled to this lodging but may use this building during transition to Cape Coast or if they pay per day for extra days as approved by Medical Director.
Eligibility: Who Can Apply?
This is multi-faceted program ideal for a range of students including medical students/residents, allied health students, pre-health undergraduates, and anthropology and social work majors. Non-students are also eligible. To confirm you are eligible, please read CFHI's general eligibility requirements.
Language Required: English
Ghana is a multicultural and diverse country with over 70 seventy tribal groups and just as many distinct languages spoken. However, Ghana's unifying national official language is English and it is used in government, business and universally for educational instruction. It is spoken and understood fluently by most of the population.
All students should arrive at the Kotoka International Accra airport on the program arrival date. Participants will be picked up by one of the on-site CFHI Local coordinators.
All US citizens should apply for a Ghanaian tourist visa in advance. More information will be provided by CFHI after acceptance into the program.
CFHI Program fees include the majority of your on the ground costs. As a nonprofit, CFHI strives to keep fees low and offers fundraising opportunities, scholarships and discounts.
- Guidance from CFHI staff in San Francisco before departure
- Program-specific materials with information on making travel arrangements, visa requirements, recommended immunizations, etc.
- Airport pick-up upon arrival and transportation to local lodging with local CFHI representative
- Welcome orientation covering safety, transportation, and other logistics
- Educational tour of Accra
- CFHI Local Team: providing instruction, logistical support, and 24/7 emergency response
- Weekly meetings and lectures on local healthcare system and socio-economic determinants of health
- Placement and coordination of clinical/public health activities
- Accommodation and two meals a day
- Local transportation to and from clinical sites
- Local cell phone with start off credits and internet plan- students must refill at own cost
- International emergency medical and evacuation insurance
- Access to CFHI alumni-only LinkedIn group featuring news and career opportunities related to Global Health
- CFHI alumni newsletter highlighting events, resources, and ways to stay involved
Uniquely CFHI, 50% or more of student program fees go directly to the communities they will be visiting, benefiting the local economy at large and specifically underserved health systems. Read more.
Meet the Local Team
Dr. Charles Chineme Nwobu: CFHI Ghana Medical and Program Director
Dr. Charles Chineme Nwobu is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health (FRSPH), UK, with a MSc Public Health for development from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London and International development training at Madingley Hall of the University of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK respectively. In addition, to having a BSc. in Medical Sciences and a medical degree from the University of Ghana Medical School, he has a Pediatric clinical training qualification from the Royal College of Physicians, Ireland. He has over ten years of experience working in Ghana's public and private sector as a Family Practitioner and Public Health Physician. His area of focus includes Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive, Sexual, Child Health, and rights. Moreover, his work involves running global health educational, public health, and impact programs in communities as the Country Medical Director for Ghana for an international organization known as Child Family Health International (CFHI). In the Covid-19 pandemic, he served as a Senior MD for the WHO at Accra's United Nations Covid 19 Field Hospital (UNCFH) for about a year, where he was part of the leadership of the medical and public health team managing UN patients and partners medevacked to Ghana for Covid 19 management.
He volunteers in the Ghana Health Service by leading the Projects Committee of the Princess Marie Louise Children's Hospital, Accra, where his initiative for children with disabilities earned him the International Community Access to Child Health (ICATCH) grant recipient by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Along with serving as CFHI's Medical and Program Director for Ghana, he also currently serves as a steering and working committee member of an international network known as CHIFA (Child Health and rights Information for All), with the head office based in the U.K.
He is a strong global health advocate with prior experience working as a youth regional leader in the global health organization IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Students Associations) where he served as the IFMSA Regional Coordinator for Africa for two consecutive years and next as the Alumni Relations Support Division Director.
Jacqueline Amegee Elikem: Deputy Medical Director
Jacqueline Elikem Amegee comes from the Ewe tribe, from a town called Dzelukope, in the Volta region of Ghana. She currently serves as the Deputy Country Medical Director supporting the Country Medical and Program Director in his work. She has a long standing experience working with him as a Nurse Practitioner in Maternal and Child Health. She currently works at The Trust Hospital Limited in Accra Ghana as a Nursing Officer. She has a diploma in General Nursing from Western Hills school of Nursing and a Bsc. Nursing Degree from a Central University College in Accra. Her hobbies include reading, swimming and traveling.
CFHI Local Coordinators
Local Coordinators will assist in organizing housing, airport pick-up, orientation, weekly meetings and other logistics for all participants.
Roland Takyi: Local Coordinator and Projects Officer – CFHI Accra Programs
Roland Takyi is a native of Cape Coast in the Central Region of Ghana. He holds a higher diploma in Computer System Engineering from IPMC in Ghana. He has worked with Emartech Global Services as a Field Engineer and also Proworld Ghana as a Participant Coordinator. He currently serves as a Local coordinator and Projects officer for Accra programs and projects. His hobbies include playing soccer, watching movies, researching, traveling and politics.
What Alumni Say
"I believe it is helpful to see how systems and resources develop overtime and to understand what they came from. I also learned about the power of patient education. No matter how many medications you provide or the number of times you see a patient, teaching parents why these things are important is the only long term way to improve the health of a child. From HIV management to the prevention of malnutrition, money may be a barrier to improved health but the ultimate challenge is due to a lack of education. This emphasizes the importance of doctors working hand in hand with the entire medical community, social work and public health to educate patients. Overall, this was an amazing and humbling learning experience that I would recommend to all!"
-Elizabeth Margolis, Medical Student, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
“My experience in Ghana was incredible! I worked with inspiring health care workers and witnessed first hand how the social context in which a child lives can have a profound effect on overall health and development.”
-Kescha, Pediatrics Resident, Memorial University, St. John’s, Canada
"One of the most striking things for me was the gradual turnaround when you start rehabilitating a child nutritionally. I was lucky enough to catch children at the tail end of their inpatient stay to be able to follow up with them this last week in the outpatient nutritional rehabilitation clinic, which allows women to learn how to prepare balanced meals at the center for themselves and their children..." read more on Julia's fascinating blog (week 1 & 2).
-- Julia Tanguay (4th year medical student at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine)
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global roadmap set forth by the United Nations General Assembly to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure the well-being of all individuals by the year 2030. This program highlights the following SDGs: