Accra, Ghana (Capital City); Atiwa district
Rural and urban settings. Hospital assessments, health education presentations, door-to-door immunizations, prenatal, nutritional assessments, food and water supply studies.
Cape Coast slave castle and museum, Kakum aerial jungle canopy walk, Koforidua bead market, Boti Falls and hike, haggling at “the pit” (an open market), cloth dying and dressmaking shops, and the Accra temple.
Work/environmental health issues evaluations, traditional cultural health practices investigations
About the Program
In the capital city of Accra, several hospitals were accessed. Students also had the opportunity to travel to the Adenta and Tema regions to present health education to adult learners. The rural experience occurred in the Atiwa District. Each student had the privilege of going to a “health outpost” at least once on this rotation. These settings are fondly referred to as the “bush experiences.” Multiple alternative learning experiences also occur in this area, including nutritional assessment of children while engaging in soccer games, investigation of the local water supply and the effect of gold/diamond mining practices on clean water supplies. Students have helped with the opening of a new maternity unit that provides greater privacy and comfort to new and expectant mothers. Although this experience is not for the faint-of-heart and lots of hard work occurs, activities to enhance cultural understanding and learn of the history and setting w ere also included. These included a history lesson at the Cape Coast slave castle and museum, an aerial jungle canopy walk which includes a lesson on medicinal herbs found in the area, a visit to the Koforidua bead market, a visit to Boti Falls that included a hike and exposure to aboriginal spiritual beliefs, and the opportunity to learn how to haggle at “the pit,” an open market, and visits to cloth dying and dressmaking/tailor shops. A choice culminating experience is attending the Accra Temple.
"I think coming into this experience, I thought that those who had less resources would be less intelligent. But after being in Ghana, I realized that my thinking was judgmental and completely wrong. The doctors and nurses were very intelligent and knew a lot about the medical profession, they just didn’t have the resources they needed to fully perform their roles. So they had to make do with the resources that they had. Their healthcare system and way of doing things is a lot different than the way we do things in the United States but they are performing in the best way they can and using what they have. They are so resourceful. They didn’t have prefilled normal saline syringes, so they made their own flushes. They didn’t have tourniquets for putting IV lines in so they used the bottom part of a glove or an extra IV tubing line. After watching them [it] made me think about how wasteful and thoughtless we often are in the hospitals in the United States."