Medical Internship

NSABA Health Center - Nsaba, Ghana
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-267 Location: Nsaba, Ghana Sector: Health Care Category: Medicine Min Duration: 4 weeks Lodging: Host Family / Lodge Language: Basic
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Volunteer Job Description

Nsaba Health Clinic is a rural medical centre that provides Ghanaians with health care services in over 50 rural communities.

The Nsaba Health Clinic offers a number of services including a general medical ward, maternity ward, outreach services plus health promotion talks in schools and community centres.

Public rural health clinics play an important role in the Ghana Health Care System. Their outreach programs to rural villages that do not have a medical centre in their community, provides medical care and education to individuals who may not otherwise be able to seek health care attention because they can't afford to travel into the city or afford the hospital fees.

The Nsaba Health Clinic is in need of enthusiastic volunteers all year round as the demand for extra assistance is very high. Pre-med student volunteers who are interested in public health outreach programs would be most welcome.

A pre-med student volunteer may be asked to assist in many different avenues of approach to medical care. Be it: general duties, the out-patient clinics, counselling, educational services, administrative duties etc. The clinic is under-staffed and would benefit by having volunteers to help provide more extensive care.

They are looking for pre-med student volunteers who are willing to take on various tasks as required. While a background in medicine is not required, a keen attitude and a willingness to be flexible in how their time is used is a requirement for any volunteers at this placement. Pre-med student volunteers looking to increase their knowledge in the medical field would obtain a vast amount of experience towards their future endeavours at this placement.

Volunteer Tasks Required

In & Out-patient Clinics

A pre-med student volunteer would assist staff in the out-patient and in-patient departments. Duties may include: taking medical history of patients and recording their symptoms of current medical problems, as well as temperature, height and weight of patients etc. or assist with other non-medical care of patients while at the clinic.

Organize Patient Flow

Volunteers may have the chance to travel with the clinical staff on outreach services to the surrounding rural villages. This would be a great chance for volunteers to explore the area and to experience rural life. Duties on these visits may include organizing patient flow, weighing babies, providing first-aid training plus numerous other tasks.

Outreach Services at Schools

The clinic does outreach services at local schools. Pre-med student volunteers may be asked to give presentations on hygiene, nutrition, sexual health, HIV, malaria and any other topic that the volunteer and clinical staff feel is relevant and will benefit the students.

Community Seminars

Pre-med student volunteers may be asked to help in the development and implementation of educational seminars in the community; assist in the development of outreach programs in aspects of health care such as: HIV/AIDS, family planning, common diseases and illnesses in Ghana and treatments and/or inoculations available, basic first-aid etc.

Host Organization Details

NSABA Health Center

Nsaba Health clinic is a rural medical centre that is dedicated to providing Ghanaians in the Agnoa, Nsaba region with health care services. The mission statement for the Nsaba Health Clinic is to provide quality health care to every patient that comes to their clinic.

The staff at Nsaba Health Clinic try to go above and beyond to help people in need of medical attention and ensure that if counselling is required that the patient is able to receive this type of service as well. Although the Nsaba facility is small and there are few staff, the role that this clinic has in providing health care is critical. Increased accessibility to health care for residents in the Agnoa, Nsaba region is a major priority for this centre as they now provide health services to over 50 surrounding rural communities.

Nsaba clinic was founded in 1985 by the Ghanaian government. The reason the government decided that it was necessary to provided funding for this project was because they realized that the need for more hospitals and clinics in rural communities was starting to increase. The Ghanaian Government decided that the community of Nsaba would be a good location for the new clinic because the area was easily accessible to the surrounding communities and because it is located in a densely populated area that comprises of a large number of small rural communities that surround Nsaba. Since the establishment of Nsaba clinic the staff have created a number of public health awareness programs and do their best in treating each patient with the resources that they have.

Like many countries, the health care system in Ghana has challenges in both urban centres and rural communities, however this clinic is focused on rural health challenges.

Nsaba clinic along with many clinics in rural areas of Ghana are faced with various challenges to meet their mandate of providing quality health care to all that visit their clinic. The challenges are vast, however the primary ones that the staff at Nsaba feel are very important to address include: education on services provided, increasing accessibility to communities where no clinic or medical staff are located, the need for improved equipment and better inventory management.

Many people throughout Ghana are uncertain of medical services provided by hospitals and clinics. Elders in many communities can remember the days when it was a long way for them to travel to receive medical attention from a doctor or nurse and therefore most of the time alternative forms of medicines were used. This practice happened throughout all of Ghana for centuries and are still used today. The alternative forms of medicine often include combinations of different plants for certain illnesses, different washes to disinfect wounds and different items put together to make liquid syrups to help stop fever or reduce malaria. These alternative forms of medicine are usually easily accessible and more affordable then travelling to seek medical attention. Although it is very innovative and necessary to find alternative and affordable medical solutions, this has had a very negative impact on how some people view the current Ghanaian health care system.

Since individuals rarely sought out medical care in a hospital or clinic because of the distance they would have to travel or the expensive bills that they would have to pay; they would only go if they were very ill or had been sick for a long time. As a result, when an individual did go it meant that the stage of whatever illness they had was usually very severe. Many people can tell stories of family members or friends who went to the hospital and died shortly after arriving because they had not received the medical attention that they needed before this stage. As a result, some elders in rural and urban communities caution their children and grandchildren from receiving medical attention when they are sick as they have little faith that staff at the hospital or clinic will be able to effectively solve their medical issues and in the end they will end up with large bills while not receiving correct medical advice.

The staff of Nsaba Clinic are trying to demonstrate to the community that services that they offer do help to prevent diseases from escalating if an individual seeks medical attention as soon as he or she develops symptoms. They have done this by creating outreach programs where they go to very remote communities and provide educational seminars, free check-ups to anyone and when they have the resources, provide free medicine and vaccinations. In addition, they conduct talks in schools to help bring awareness to children and teachers about the various services they provide and how they can help treat illness such as malaria, yellow fever and typhoid.

Another challenge is that throughout the country, many communities have no medical facilities in their area and in some cases there are clinics but they are unable to deal with more complex issues due to lack of resources or training. As a result, a person must travel to clinics like Nsaba to receive the medical care they need. Individuals must walk or take public transportation (if it comes to their location) and commute sometimes more than an hour before they are at a medical centre. This is problematic for many who are ill as walking in the heat can increase other challenges like dehydration or heat stroke on top of whatever illness they may have.

This also causes an issue for clinics like Nsaba that currently provide services to over 50 rural communities in their area. The patient load continues to increase but the staff, medical resources and facility does not. Therefore, the clinic is often overcrowded with people who require medical attention, however there is not enough staff or medical resources to attend to everyone. Although, the staff at the Nsaba Clinic have implemented great systems to help address periods when there is an overflow of patients, at times it is very difficult to provide adequate care to everyone.

Access to updated medical technology is very difficult to obtain especially for rural clinics. The staff at Nsaba Clinic have basic medical tools that they use but really could use some better equipment and more supplies. There is also the problem of lack of consistent electricity therefore many items do not work when needed. The clinic is in constance need of funds to enable them to update their equipment and train staff how to use it.

Medical supplies are delivered to rural clinics by various government agencies and NGO's like UNICEF. When supplies do arrive the staff are overjoyed as it means they have the much needed supplies to provide better health care. The challenge is that supplies are not received on a regular schedule. Therefore, better inventory management systems would be very beneficial in the hope that the clinics could inform these agencies well in advance before they run out of supplies. This is a massive project because most rural clinics do not have a computer or access to internet, so the only way to inform someone regarding inventory and supplies is by telephone. It usually takes time before someone reads the inventory request form and then hopefully provides the necessary supplies.

The services that are provided at the Nsaba Health Clinic include: basic consultations, family planning, malaria treatment, pre-natal and post-natal care, laboratory services, a burn centre, public health out-reach seminars, physiotherapy, basic gynaecology services, a pharmacy, HIV/AIDS testing and counselling if required, educational materials and an emergency room. In addition to treating patients who require medical assistance, the staff at Nsaba Clinic are trying to teach the community members in their area about ways to prevent diseases and to encourage people to visit the hospital if they have questions or concerns about their health.

The Nsaba Health Clinic has been very success at providing outreach programs for people in communities who are unable to go to a hospital and in providing on-going community outreach programs to promote the services they provide, as well as the importance of coming in for early diagnosis. The clinic manages to provide health care with limited resources and funding.

Does this organization have any religious affiliations?

This organization does not have any religious affiliations but the predominant religion in Ghana is Christianity. Therefore, some co-workers and patients may say certain prayers throughout the day and may ask for all the staff to pray together at the end of each shift. Although you do not have to participate in any religious ceremonies or prayers we ask that you please be respectful when these services or prayers take place.

Although most of the people that a volunteer would work with would be of the Christian faith this organization is open and willing to work with anyone no mater what religious orientation or of no religious faith. As long as the person is passionate about wanting to help those who are ill and willing to work with the team to provide this service he/she is most welcome.

When They Were Founded

The Nsaba Health Care Centre was built and opened in 1985. It was a project sanctioned by the government to address accessibility to health care in rural areas of Ghana.

Currently the clinic has received funding and has built a new laboratory so that they are able to provide even more services to patients. Although work is still required at the laboratory, the clinic and staff are grateful for this additional upgrade to their laboratory.

Who They Work With

The services offered at the Nsaba Clinic attend to the needs of Nsaba and the surrounding communities, accounting for over 125,000 people. There are over fifty rural villages in the area that use this clinic when they require medical care or information. The clinic provides services to anyone who requires it.

The rural clinic is very important to these people as it provides them with quality health care that they would otherwise not be able to receive due to financial and transportation issues. Without this clinic in Nsaba, if a villager was sick, they would need to walk 100 km to the next nearest clinic to seek treatment.

Many of the people who attend the clinic in Nsaba already walk long distances to seek medical attention. As a result, less people have the ability to receive medical attention as required because of the distance. To address this the staff at the clinic have decided to mobile provide outreach services to some of the communities in their area to help provide more accessible health care.

The clinic has services for everyone from newborns to the elderly. They are trying to diversify the types of treatments that they provide to include all of the following: malaria, Tuberculosis, Guinea Worm, HIV/AIDS, Poliomyelitis, EPI target disease (those that can be prevented by vaccinations) and to catch diseases such as cholera and meningitis at the early stages as these diseases can easily cause a massive break-out in the community.

How Are They Funded

The Nsaba clinic is funded by the Ghanaian government with some NGO support and occasionally private donors, mostly from the surrounding communities. They also rely heavily on volunteers both locally and internationally to provide support to their patients and staff.

Donation Requests

The Nsaba Clinic has very few resources and therefore donating your time to helping their team to increase outreach initiatives and improve medical conditions would be greatly appreciated.

If you would like to donate an item to the clinic the following list outlines what they have requested. However, you are not required or expected to bring a donation.

Nsaba is very low on medical supplies and do not have a big enough yearly budget to ensure these items are always in-stock. These include medical supplies such as medical gloves, syringes, needles, stethoscopes, tensor bandages, sterile adhesive bandages, butterfly bandages, adhesive tape, rolls of absorbent cotton balls, cotton tipped swabs, thermometers, anti-itch lotion or cream (can be bought in Ghana), eye drops, compresses, splints, antiseptic ointments to cleanse and dress wounds, cleansers, crutches, a sling, hand sanitizer, medications like advil or tylenol (can be bought in Ghana), scales, used computer, new sheets, pillows, new scrubs for nurses and administration supplies, (paper, pens, calculators, note books and tape).

In addition, the clinic is trying to opened a laboratory. The clinic would really appreciate any of the following: syringes, plain test tubes, EDTA tubes, anti-coagulating tubes, reagents, buffers, a computer, a sink, petri dishes, universal bottles and a fridge.

Placement Location Information

Nsaba, Ghana

Nsaba Clinic is a landfill community which is about three kilometres from Swedru.

Nsaba Clinic is a well built clinic to accommodate the people of the Nsaba community and its neighbouring villages. It has a consulting room and a room where records are kept, as well as a front desk where patients are examined. Currently, Nsaba Clinic is trying to upgrade the clinic by putting in a laboratory to help provide quality health service and to improve their health care delivery which is the core objective of the Ghana health service.

The Nsaba Clinic has two separate buildings for doctors which are painted cream in colour. The clinic does't have a gate at the entrance of the hospital but they have a main gate that is locked. At the back of the buildings are four separate wash rooms, a tap and a big poly tank for storage of water in case there is a water shortage.

The clinic has an unpaved road and part of the compound has green grass. However, you can see that rain is causing erosion in the grassy areas so the clinic staff are working to correct this problem.

At the main entrance is a big sign board with the name of the clinic and the kind of service the clinic provides has been written on it .

Transfer From BaseCamp

Volunteers working at the Nsaba Clinic will be placed with a host family from the community of Swedru. After orientation, you will travel to your home-stay in Agona, Swedru. Swedru is approximately three hours from Accra by bus.

To get to Agona, Swedru: a few minutes walk from BaseCamp is the main Kaneskie Station where you would board a mini bus (locally called trotro) to the main Sweduro Station.

There our Swedoru co-ordinator would meet you and send you to your placement at the Nsaba Clinic by a shared taxi (please budget per day for the taxi).

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 88 kilometres
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 1:35

Weather in the Area

The dry season in Ghana is from September through March and temperatures generally range from 30°C to 45°C. The rainy season, occurring in April until August, is a bit cooler at temperatures of 20°C to 35°C. As the name of the season suggests, rainfall increases dramatically throughout these months. It is generally not constant rain, but when it does rain, it usually pours!

Often the weather can change throughout the day. At one moment it is very hot and the next moment it is pouring rain. Volunteers are advised to bring a good waterproof jacket while in country!

City/Village Description

Nsaba is a small attractive town situated 23 km away from the coastline of Ghana. It is the capital of the Agona East District with a population of approximately 85,920.people; female slightly dominating at an estimated population of 44,885 while the male population is estimated at 41,035.

While strolling down the winding pathways of Nsaba, you will be mesmerized by the beauty of this city. The palm trees, lush vegetation and elaborate markets entice many visitors to stay more than just one night.

Nsaba is a unique town having both the components of a rural and urban community. Visitors to Nsaba, always comment on the various traditional activities that occur throughout the town. For example, it is quite common to see people wearing traditional attire, playing traditional games or using bicycles as the major form of transportation.

Since Nsaba is the district capital of Agona East , there are many facilities throughout the city that generally are only found within the big cities of Ghana. For example, there are at least six hotels, internet cafe's, restaurants that serve a wide-range of Ghanaian and western dishes and also local restaurants called chop bars and a fairly big hospital. It is considered a major commercial centre for the district and is well known for its cocoa growing plantations. The community has a big taxi station.

Nearest Medical Clinic

Duakwa Clinic
Duakwa Street
Swedru
TEL 1: 0244438524

Placement Address

NSABA Health Center
Nsaba Street
Nsaba
Ghana

Accommodation and Meals

All of our volunteers begin their stay in Ghana at our BaseCamp Center in Accra. Given that this placement is more than a 1 hour 15 minute commute from BaseCamp, volunteers here will be living with a host family after your orientation. Living with a host family is an awesome experience for a person looking to really experience Ghana and its culture.

The following information outlines a brief description of life at BaseCamp and also what someone can expect living with a host family in Ghana.

If you think that living with a host family is not for you, then this placement might not be the best fit with what you are looking for. You should try completing our application. It's totally free and will allow our team in Ghana to come up with a list of exactly which placements they would reccommend for you based on your personal preferences, background, skills and interests.

BaseCamp Ghana

BaseCamp Ghana
BaseCamp Ghana Address

C/O Pink Hostel
5th Crescent
Accra, Ghana

BaseCamp Ghana Contact Details

Tel: 233-243-745-771 (Hostel Number)
Mobile: 233-245-916-108

The BaseCamp Center in Accra is a hostel situated in the residential neighbourhood of Asylum Down. This is a relaxing and peaceful area, away from the continuous activity and hubbub of the tourist district, but central enough that we are within walking distance of many attractions in Accra including the National Museum, Kwame Nkrumah Circle and Adabraka Market.

The centre itself is a three-story building with several dormitory rooms. There are also several quiet areas where volunteers can study and relax including a covered area outside. There is an internet cafe, allowing volunteers to stay in touch with friends and family abroad. In addition to this, free WIFI can be accessed throughout the building.

All volunteers spend their orientation in this centre when they first arrive in Ghana. The workshops and language training take place in this building as well although each day we incorporate outings to learn about the area and how to get around independently.

Living With a Host Family in Ghana

Living with a host family in Ghana is a fantastic way to gain a deep understanding of and appreciation for the people and customs of the country. Each home-stay will provide a bed and three meals per day for our volunteers. The majority of host families offer private rooms with only one or two volunteers living with the family.

Living with a host family can greatly enhance your performance at your placement. For one, it will have a huge influence on the speed with which you gain familiarity with the local language. This, along with your deeper understanding of cultural practices and beliefs that you are likely to gain in this environment, can go a long way to improving or strengthening your relationships with your team mates at work. Furthermore, a significant percentage of our host families are closely affiliated with the organizations with which our volunteers work. As such, even the evening meal or hanging out around the house can become valuable time during which volunteers can share their ideas and continue their support of their host organization.

All of this being said, living with a host family is not for everyone. It is very important for volunteers to honor the house rules in their host family and to be punctual. Also, depending on how remote your placement location, host families can be very rustic. Our staff in country can give you a better idea of what exactly you can expect from a host family in any particular community. However, in general, if these things sound like they might pose a challenge for you, we strongly suggest that you look at a placement within commuting distance from BaseCamp Ghana.

How the Program Works

Our program structure and costing is completely flexible which lets our volunteers ensure that they only pay for exactly the degree of support that they want.

Option 1 - Free Services

Some volunteers prefer to coordinate their own accommodation, meals and other support while overseas.

Anyone is welcome to use our volunteer placement search tool to help in finding a placement that is well suited to their interests. Once someone finds a placement that they wish to work with, they are welcome to make all the rest of their arrangmeents on their own.

As well, our team of staff overseas are often able to offer a few helpful pointers for volunteers 'doing it on their own'. Just send us an email with your questions and we will put you in touch with our team abroad. We only ask that you keep your requests fairly general, as this type of advice is exactly how our team earn their living. :)

Option 2 - Placement Support - 250 USD

Other volunteers would like assistance in selecting and confirming their placement, but they plan to manage their own accommodation and other expenses on their own.

These volunteers have the option of choosing to only have our assistance with selecting and confirming their placement. This option also includes ongoing placement support while abroad, so a volunteer would be able to ask our team for help if things at their placement were not working out.

In providing Placement Support, our team works with each volunteer through email, telephone and either Skype or Google Hangouts, to ensure that each volunteer has a clear understanding of their placement options. Our in-country staff will put together a custom list of placement options for each volunteer that they believe are the most appropriate matches with the volunteer's background, skills and interests. Then each volunteer can work with our team both in Canada and abroad to go through each of the options and narrow-down their selection.

Option 3 - Full Program Support

For most volunteers who are volunteering for less than a year, they are looking for an option that includes their accommodation, meals, airport reception, country and program orientation and placement support. This is what our Program Fees are designed for.

We are proud of how over the years we have ensured that our program fees are amoungst the most reasonable of any program in the world while we continue to provide exceptional volunteer support both at home and abroad.

Our Program Fees and listings of what these do and do not include are listed below:

Program Fees

Program Fees - Ghana

  Registration Fee
250
 
  1 Week
395
 
  2 Weeks
535
 
  3 Weeks
675
 
  4 Weeks
815
 
  5 Weeks
940
 
  6 Weeks
1,065
 
  7 Weeks
1,190
 
  8 Weeks
1,315
 
 
 
  Additional Weeks
120
 
All program fees are listed in US Dollars.

What is Included
  • Pre-Departure support
  • Placement consulation
  • Airport reception & transfer
  • 2 Day orientation
  • Accommodation (BaseCamp or host family)
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Emergency & placement support

What is Not Included
    Before Departure
  • International flight
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Visa costs where required
  • Work permits where required
    While Overseas
  • Daily transportation to and from placement
  • Transport to airport on departure
  • Placement fees if requried


Program Dates


Our regularly scheduled program start dates are the first Friday of each month, every month of the year. We strongly recommend beginning your program on one of these dates as this will allow you to go through our orientation alongside other international volunteers.

If you would prefer, our application will also allow you to select a custom start date for your program. Keep in mind that there is an additional fee for a custom start date which ranges from 50 to 75 USD.

Apr 05, 2019 May 03, 2019 Jun 07, 2019
Jul 05, 2019 Aug 02, 2019 Sep 06, 2019
Oct 04, 2019 Nov 01, 2019 Dec 06, 2019
Jan 03, 2020 Feb 07, 2020 Mar 06, 2020
Apr 03, 2020 May 01, 2020 Jun 05, 2020
Jul 03, 2020 Aug 07, 2020 Sep 04, 2020
Oct 02, 2020 Nov 06, 2020 Dec 04, 2020
Jan 01, 2021 Feb 05, 2021 Mar 05, 2021

PLEASE NOTE:

These dates are the day that volunteers should plan to arrive on the ground in country. We can accommodate arrivals in-country at any time day or night on these dates.

Give us a Call
Canada / USA 866-646-4693 (toll free)
UK 866-646-4693 (toll free)
Australia 866-646-4693 (toll free)
International 613-353-3000
Send us a Message