Is a medical internship in Ghana right for me?
This internship is ideal for anyone who wants to see medicine in practice. You’ll get first-hand experience of working in a hospital in a developing country.
You can use this internship to add work experience to your CV before applying to medical school. You can also talk about all you saw, learned, and how you overcame challenges during interviews or in application essays. It’s also a great way to explore different departments within a large hospital. This is especially useful if you’re a medical student deciding on a specialisation.
Remember that you’ll be shadowing doctors and nurses in a busy medical environment. It’s important to be proactive, ask questions, and demonstrate initiative. This will ensure that you develop a good relationship with the staff, and that you learn as much as possible during your medical placement in Ghana.
Our medical internship in Ghana runs throughout the year, and you can join at any time from a minimum of one week. We encourage you to stay longer, so you can see and learn more.
Your work will be split in three main areas:
Join doctors and nurses on their daily patient rounds
You will shadow doctors and nurses on their daily rounds. They’ll teach you about Ghana’s prevalent diseases, their diagnoses, management, and treatment. You should be prepared to to encounter patients who suffer from diseases and conditions that you don’t see at home, such as Malaria and Typhoid.
During your time as a medical intern in Ghana, you’ll also spend some time in different departments of a large regional hospital. This will give you insight into various specialisations and could help you choose your own later in your studies.
Do health checks during community outreaches
In Ghana, many rural and disadvantaged areas lack access to healthcare services. Most people cannot afford to travel to clinics or pay to see a doctor. This is also the case in marginalised communities, like leprosy camps. We organise regular outreaches, where you get involved with tasks like:
- Treat and dress chronic wounds at a leprosy camp
- Treat wounds and ringworm infections at schools
- Do health checks in rural communities, focusing on measuring blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and run free malaria tests
This is important work, that gives you the chance to help others while learning and using basic medical skills.
Take part in health education campaigns
You will help us raise awareness about key healthcare issues around the country. We do this by holding talks in schools, care centres, or local communities. Typical topics will include:
- Good hygiene practices
- Malaria prevention
- Sexual education
Sexual education is critical, as this is still considered a taboo topic in many schools. You could also focus on healthy lifestyle choices to prevent illnesses like heart disease and diabetes.
Types of placements available
During your medical internship in Ghana, you will be able to work in a number of different departments. These include:
- Accident and Emergency
If you’re interested in a specific department, please feel free to contact us and we can help advise you.
Where you will be working in Ghana
You will be based in one of three locations: Cape Coast, Dodowa, or Accra.
Most of our interns are placed in Cape Coast, but there are also placements available in Accra and Dodowa.
With a population of 2.7 million people, Accra is the largest city in Ghana and also the country’s capital. If you would like to experience this burgeoning West African city, you can request a placement here too.
Our placement in Accra is at a hospital, where you will have access to most departments.
This is where most of our interns are placed. Here, you will work in a teaching hospital with patients who have a wide range of illnesses. You will also get the opportunity to interact with local medical students and gain insight into their curriculum.
Cape Coast is a vibrant fishing port with a fascinating history, which you will love exploring in your downtime.
If you have no previous medical experience, you will be placed in Dodowa. Here you will have more professional supervision and guidance. You’ll work in a regional hospital.
A typical day as a medical intern in Ghana
On any given day, you will work shifts alongside your supervisors. These shifts typically take the following form:
- Morning: 8am - 2pm
- Afternoon: 2pm - 8pm
- Night: 8pm - 8am
Each shift starts with rounds as you follow the consulting doctor and learn about each patient's case and course of treatment. Use this opportunity to ask plenty of questions. After rounds, you’ll assist nurses with patient care. You can watch them administer medication and treatment, and help to update patient files. Nurses always appreciate help in general patient care as well such as feeding, bathing, and bed changing.
Please note that hospitals in Ghana are often busiest in the mornings. Don’t be late for the morning shift if you'd like to witness the bulk of the day's work!
Afternoons are a great opportunity to get to know the staff and patients better.
Two days per week, you’ll join one of our community outreaches to assist with doing health checks.
During the hours you aren’t working, you’ll have free time to explore Ghana’s colourful culture and natural beauty with your fellow interns.
Since you will be living with a local host family, breakfast or dinners offer great opportunities to get to know them better and fully immerse yourself in their way of life.
What are the aims and impact of this Medicine internship?
The main aim of this project is to help expand your medical knowledge with guidance from experienced local doctors and nurses.
It also gives you insight into the healthcare system of a developing country. Many Ghanaian government hospitals receive limited funding, which means they often lack the resources that are standard in most western hospitals.
As a developing country, Ghana also suffers from a double burden of disease. Infectious diseases are still rife, with occasional outbreaks of cholera and ongoing cases of malaria. The introduction of a more western lifestyle means that now there is also an increase of diseases like hypertension and diabetes.
Through school and community outreaches, we help educate local people about malaria prevention and the importance of early treatment. Our interns also help conduct screenings and tests to prevent further complications. We also offer basic healthcare services, as people are not always able to afford treatment for infected wounds, ringworm, or malaria.
Here are our five main goals for our medical programme in Ghana:
- Promote the exchange of medical knowledge
- Improve access to basic healthcare
- Promote awareness of non-communicable diseases, like diabetes
- Improve the quality of healthcare
- Reduce the number of malaria cases
Gain work experience in healthcare on an international medical internship in Ghana, while helping us achieve these long-term goals.
Professional volunteers and medical electives for students
This project is also ideally suited to professionals interested in using their skills to help, as well as university medical and healthcare elective students.
As a professional, you can be sure we will match your training and expertise to the placement where you are needed most. With your support, we can make an even bigger impact on the local communities we work with.
If you are an elective student, we will organise an elective placement where you can learn as much as possible. We want you gain the knowledge and skills that will begin to shape your professional career.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Leisure activities and free time
Volunteering in Ghana is an ideal way to explore this colourful West African country. There’s a huge variety of different activities to do while you’re there, giving you plenty of exciting ways to spend your free time.
Music is a central part of Ghanaian culture. In the bigger towns, especially Accra, you will hear some great live bands and have some memorable nights out. Evenings spent at buzzing restaurants will also give you a taste of some of the delicious local cuisine.
For a look into Ghana’s history, you can tour the slave forts of Cape Coast and visit museums. Nature lovers will relish trekking through the rainforests of Kakum National Park or Mole National Park.
We run a wide range of projects in Ghana so there’s sure to be other volunteers there during your trip. This means you can explore the country solo or connect with other volunteers and travel as a group.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
Meet the team in Ghana
Not quite what you’re looking for?
Take a look at the following pages where you'll find collections of similar projects: