Ghana’s Cape Coast is a relaxed fishing port, home to Elmina and Cape Coast Castles, which are legacies of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and recognized UNESCO World Heritage sites. Ghana was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence from European colonization in the twentieth century. Today, many factors contribute to Ghana’s socio-economic realities, including foreign debts, an overburdened National Health Insurance System, and the volatility of health and development projects. These factors impact the ability of much of Ghana’s population to access and enjoy optimum health care, education, food security, fundamental human rights, and remunerated work.
Program participants shadow healthcare workers at a large teaching hospital that provides primary and tertiary care while delving into Ghana’s disease burden in the healthcare system, focusing on program themes, including hospital medicine, public health, infectious disease, and more in various departments. Alternatively, program participants may have the opportunity to gain clinical on-site and outreach learning experiences (when available) from a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) organization in partnership with various community stakeholders in public health and development. This option may include placement with one of the lowest units in the level of healthcare in Ghana, involving community healthcare workers that provide care on-site to rural areas and go to these communities. Two tracks are available in this program for students to choose from: Clinical Track (CT) and Public Health and Social Development Track (PHSDT).
Participants will stay in dedicated CFHI housing with a Local Coordinator and other CFHI scholars. During free time, participants enjoy Cape Coast’s scenic landscapes, beautiful sandy beaches, and historic landmarks and immerse themselves in Ghanaian culture.
With secluded beaches adorned by vibrant fishing boats, a treasure trove of historic sites, and the warm hospitality of its residents, Cape Coast stands out as one of Ghana’s most captivating destinations. Nestled along the Atlantic coastline, this region offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural significance.
Known as a tranquil fishing port, the city of Cape Coast serves as the capital of both the Cape Coast Metropolitan District and Central Region of south Ghana. Located approximately a 3-hour drive away from Accra, Ghana’s bustling capital, Cape Coast offers a delightful escape to those seeking a more serene and culturally enriching experience.
In addition to its historical landmarks, Cape Coast is blessed with serene and picturesque hills, valleys, and streams that enhance its natural allure. The region enjoys a tropical climate year-round, with cooler months typically spanning from June to August. This climate allows visitors to revel in the region’s beauty and cultural heritage throughout the year, whether exploring its historic sites or enjoying the tranquil beaches.
Program participants will find their home away from home in a comfortable guest house, screened by CFHI Local Coordinators in Cape Coast and following CFHI’s health and safety guidelines. In some cases, CFHI scholars share the house and/or a room with fellow program participants.
Going beyond mere lodging, staying in a local house provides a unique opportunity to learn about the local culture. Accommodations include two meals per day. At the welcome orientation, participants will be instructed on culture and work etiquette to have the best experience in both the home and the health settings.
All participants should arrive in Accra airport on the program start date. Participants will be picked up by one of the CFHI Local Coordinators and will stay at the “CFHI Accra House” on the day of arrival, located in Mamprobi, Accra. Transportation will be offered to Cape Coast after an on-site orientation in Accra.
All US citizens should apply for a Ghana tourist visa in advance. More information will be provided by CFHI after acceptance into the program.
Uniquely, 60% or more of CFHI student program fees go directly to the communities they will be visiting, benefiting the local economy at large and specifically underserved health systems.
Considered former U.S. First Lady, Michelle Obama’s ancestral home, Cape Coast is one of the major tourist destinations in West Africa. The historical importance behind this city is reflected through its many slave trade castles and forts along the coast with guided tours informing the stories, experiences and history of the slaves. Significant sites include the World Heritage Site- Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castle; both serving as thought-provoking memorials.
Kakum National Park is considered one of the main attractions for tourists who visit the city. Experience the forest’s wildlife consisting of at least 40 species of mammals including elephants and primates, 200 species of birds and over 400 species of butterflies. The park contains an exciting and adventurous Canopy Walk tourists can walk on, which is suspended 30-40 meters high amongst the trees with 7 different connected bridges, all throughout the forest. Additionally, enjoy the tropical beaches and resorts along the coast, with other attractions including the Cape Coast Centre for National Culture, Monkey Forest Resort and many more. Visitors can also learn about medicinal trees and shrubs found in the forest.
A typical day in a CFHI program is a blend of immersive learning, cultural exploration, and personal reflection. Program activities usually take place in the mornings for 4 to 6 hrs, generally Monday through Friday. Participants will typically be at the hospital from 8 am – 2 pm, though this can vary significantly depending on special clinics, participants indicating interest in specific rotations, etc. The clinical site assignments and schedule are shared by the local team upon arrival. Weekends are free of program-planned activities.
CFHI works with diverse partners in Cape Coast that allow students to explore clinical or public health themes during the program. Participants can choose to rotate in the Clinical Track (CT) or the Public Health and Social Development Track (PHSDT). Only individuals participating in more than four weeks can choose to explore both tracks. After acceptance, students can indicate any preferences on their application. The local team does their best to accommodate learners’ preferences based on local availability and conditions.
The Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH) is a 400-bed capacity referral Hospital in the Northern part of Cape Coast. It is bounded on the north by Abura Township, on the south by Pedu Estate / 4th Ridge, Nkanfua on the East and Abura / Pedu Estate on the West. The hospital, the first of a series of ultra-modern regional hospitals established by the Ministry of Health, started full operations on 12th August 1998 and was adjudged the best regional hospital in 2003. The hospital was transformed into Cape Coast Teaching Hospital with the inception of the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Cape Coast and its partnership with various local training institutions.
During this track, participants rotate to this tertiary hospital and learn with various students and health professionals in clinical, nursing, and allied health. The hospital offers a variety of rotations in various departments, including associated subspecialty units. However, rotations will primarily be in Physiotherapy, Internal medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics with a Neonatal Intensive Unit, Surgery, Emergency Medicine and Pharmacy. There are additional units students can explore upon request.
The PHSDT track is designed to expand understanding of public health and civil society initiatives. Students will engage with the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) through their local clinic in Cape Coast and join their outreaches on SRHR education and services in partnership with other stakeholders. Public health/community outreach activities do not occur every month of the year and depend on the local realities.
This track also may include placement in the lowest levels of primary healthcare, a Community Health-Based Planning Services compound (CHPS compound). The Ekon CHPS compound provides on-site health care services by community health nurses and midwives. In addition, these community health workers also do home and community visits, which students in this track might join.
Although the CFHI local team works with local partners to place students in outreaches, availability of outreach components are contingent upon local realities of these partners, such as funding and what is already scheduled in their organizational activities.
The local Medical Director oversees and arranges all clinical and public health-related activities and is also responsible for coordinating healthcare and emergency services for participants as needed. They coordinate a cadre of preceptors who mentor and supervise program participants at both clinical and public/community health sites.
Dr. Charles Chineme Nwobu is a Public Health Physician whose work spans Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive, Sexual and Child Health, in addition to disability rights advocacy, education and development in communities. He leads the Global Health Projects Committee of the Princess Marie Louise Children’s Hospital. He is the Director of the project known as “Rehabilitating Children With Disabilities In Accra: Community Engagement And Sensitisation and the DFSexEdS4WGDs Project (Disability-Friendly Sexual, Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Education and Services for Women and Girls with Disabilities), which runs in Central Region, Ghana, in partnership with other NGOs and stakeholders in disability interventions in Ghana. He currently consults and has experience working with various global institutions and international organisations, including the WHO/United Nations, where he served as a Senior MD in the UN COVID-19 Field Hospital in Accra during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a member of the CHIFA (Child Health Information For All) working group – Child Health And Rights International Organisation, in Oxford, U.K. In addition, he has over ten years of experience working in Ghana’s public and private sectors as a Family Practitioner and Public Health Physician. He is a member of the World Medical Association (WMA) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health (FRSPH), U.K., with an MSc in Public Health for Development from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the University of London, UK, as well as undergoing an MSc in Medical Education for Healthcare Practitioners from the University of Warwick, Coventry, UK. In addition, he trained in International Development at the Madingley Hall of the University of Cambridge, UK and has a Professional Diploma in Paediatrics from the Royal College of Physicians, Ireland (RCPI). Before his Postgraduate qualifications, he studied at the University in Ghana, where he achieved a BSc. in Medical Sciences and a medical degree (MBChB).
Archleana Odofley Nortey is a midwife at Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH) and is currently the CEO of AJ’s maternity home. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in midwifery from Garden City University College. Her work involves providing Antenatal, perinatal and postnatal care to women. She is part of the cervical cancer advocate team at CCTH. Also, she is an examiner for the Nursing and Midwifery Council licensing exams. At CCTH, she is part of the team that assists people who are hard of hearing when they visit the hospital. She is married with two children, and her interests include educating students.
Philip Arthur is a registered nurse at the Delivery Suit Theatre Recovery Unit of the Maternal Health Sub – Budgment Management Centre (BMC) of Cape Coast Teaching Hospital. He has experience working with Ankaful Leprosy/General Hospital, has been involved in community outreaches, and has educated international medical volunteers who come for placements at the hospital. He holds a Diploma in Registered General Nursing from the Nursing and Midwifery Training College, Cape Coast. He is training part-time for a bachelor’s degree in Nursing at the University of Cape Coast. His hobbies include reading books and touring.
The CFHI Local Coordinators manage the logistics of housing, transportation, and cultural immersion throughout the program. They are a valuable resource for any questions related to navigating the program locale, cultural norms, and tips on planning weekend travel.
Georgina Asomah is a native of Nadoli in the Upper West Region of Ghana but was born and raised on the Cape Coast in the Central Region of Ghana. She holds a Computer Administration/Secretariat diploma from an IT institution in Ghana. She has undergone training as a Peer Educator from the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana. She currently serves as the Local Coordinator for Cape Coast. Her hobbies include reading, singing, listening to music, and travelling.
This CFHI program is ideal for participants who are 19 years of age or older, who have an interest in fields related to maternal & reproductive health, pediatrics & chid health, hospital & inpatient medicine, and/or public health. You do not need to be a student to be eligible for this program; mid-career professionals, GAP year learners, and others are also welcome. This program will provide an in-depth overview of maternal & reproductive health, pediatrics & chid health, hospital & inpatient medicine, and/or public health in Ghana through rotations within a teaching hospital and various organizations in Cape Coast. To confirm your eligibility, please read CFHI’s general eligibility requirements.
“My 4-week program in Ghana with Child Family Health International has been the best opportunity I’ve ever had. During this time, I shadowed healthcare providers, witnessing firsthand the healthcare disparities and community challenges. I focused on the Pediatric & NICU ward, deepening my passion for working with children and mothers. Additionally, I participated in outreach days with Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, educating the community on sexual rights and women’s reproductive health.
Child Family Health International’s slogan, ‘Let The World Change You,’ perfectly sums up my experience. I absorbed the surroundings like a sponge and am immensely grateful for this personal and professional journey. I look forward to continuing my path toward becoming a physician assistant.”
“My CFHI Ghana experience was fantastic! The local institutions I collaborated with were well-accustomed to hosting visiting students, creating a productive experience for both me and them. The individuals I worked with incorporated me into their teams by assigning clear tasks, making me feel like a valued team member. One of the most rewarding days was my last day at a community clinic, where we conducted HIV testing at the Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind.
My experiences at local institutions were just part of what made my CFHI experience exceptional. The CFHI local coordinators were incredibly supportive, frequently checking in and making real-time improvements. The country director was also dedicated to ensuring a meaningful experience for all participants. I left wishing I could have stayed longer than four weeks and am already planning my next global health experience with CFHI!”
Hear back from CFHI team
Complete pre-departure training and requirements