Is a Public Health internship in Ghana right for me?
This internship is open to everyone who is interested in getting involved with community health. You’ll be part of our long-term, sustainable healthcare goals and contribute to our Global Impact Database.
Our Public Health internships are ideal for those considering a career in the healthcare field. It’s also great for medical students interested in getting more practical experience. You can use the experience to add hands-on work experience to your CV, and give yourself an edge on applications and during interviews.
For those of you without medical experience, you can still join this project. This is because you will have a dedicated supervisor for the duration of your internship, and receive a thorough induction upon arrival. You’ll also work under supervision on outreaches.
This internship is available year-round, and you can join from one week onwards. Our start and end dates are flexible, so you can choose what suits you best.
Your public health work in Ghana will be split up into the following main areas:
Provide medical treatment on community outreaches
Our outreaches provide vital medical treatment to people in rural communities who would otherwise not have access to healthcare. Working alongside local staff, you’ll treat wounds and ringworm to prevent infections. You will also test suspected cases of malaria or Hepatitis B, and refer patients on for further treatment when necessary.
Non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are on the rise in Ghana due to lifestyle and diet changes. It is important to screen for these illnesses by taking measurements and testing vital signs such as blood pressure levels in order to detect undiagnosed cases. The supervising nurse or doctor will then provide referrals if the patients need further intervention.
Assist local staff at child welfare clinics
At child welfare clinics, you’ll weigh and measure infants as part of their health screenings. Here you will work alongside the local public health department staff. You will also provide advice to parents in terms of maternal and child nutrition, to promote the healthy development of children in rural areas.
Raise awareness around key healthcare issues
Educating the local community about key healthcare issues is an important part of your internship. Promoting awareness is the best way to ensure the prevention of avoidable diseases. You will give presentations at local schools or community centres.
These talks will focus on the importance of healthier lifestyle choices such as exercise and an improved diet as a means of preventing non-communicable diseases. You’ll also demonstrate good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as cholera. Malaria is also a big problem in Ghana, so people need to be aware of prevention methods and the importance of early treatment.
Where in Ghana will I work?
Your public health placement in Ghana is based in the town of Dodowa, which is located on the outskirts of the capital Accra. Our public health outreaches take place in schools, churches, care centres, and community centres in the surrounding villages.
Dodowa is a quiet suburban area, which gives you the opportunity to relax and get to know the neighbours. It is located around 35 km from Accra, so it’s not too far to travel if you’d like to spend time in the capital, as long as you avoid rush hour. Here you can explore numerous museums, monuments, restaurants, and markets.
Dodowa is also within easy distance of the Akuapem Hills. This lush green area offers plenty of hiking opportunities, along with beautiful waterfalls. The Volta Region is also worth a visit, boasting extraordinary scenery, historical colonial forts, and some of the best beaches in the country.
A typical day on the Public Health Internship
On this internship, you will usually work from Monday to Friday, with weekends off to travel and relax. Your working hours will typically be from 8am - 2pm. However, the finishing time may depend on the activities of the day.
In the morning, you will go on medical outreaches to surrounding villages, which take place in schools, care centres, community centres, and churches. Here you will get involved in everything from general medical screenings, to wound cleaning and treatment of ringworm.
Education and awareness of medical issues is also an important part of this project. You can expect to present educational talks about first aid, or demonstrate hygiene best practices at a local school.
We recommend using your time in the afternoons to prepare presentations and education materials. You will also work on uploading information about the outreach to our Global Impact Database. This helps to keep track of progress, monitor the status of communities, and follow-up on patients.
At the end of the day, spend some time getting to know your host family over a delicious dinner. Share your experiences with fellow interns, making new friends at a local bar or restaurant. Travel to the capital if you’re in the mood for a more cosmopolitan setting, or explore the natural wonders that Ghana has to offer.
What are the aims and impact of this project?
There are two aims of this project: to provide basic yet vital healthcare services to those in disadvantaged communities, and to help you develop your skills.
You’ll learn from local medical professionals and find out how to treat various medical ailments in a more rural setting. It’s also the perfect time to gain invaluable public health work experience while you’re interning in Ghana.
What’s more, you will help to improve access to basic healthcare for disadvantaged groups of people. Many of those who are poor or live in rural areas cannot afford obtain medical services. Interns provide much-needed screenings, minor treatment and referrals, under the supervision of local medical staff.
There are a number of healthcare issues in Ghana. Malaria remains a leading cause of death, and non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension are on the rise. We are focusing on preventing these diseases by raising awareness of the causes and the importance of treatment.
We have identified a number of key healthcare issues to focus on in Ghana. Apart from providing medical care to those who would otherwise not have access to it, we also plan to:
- Reduce the number of cases of malaria
- Raise awareness about non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease
Join us in Ghana for a well-rounded medical experience where you’ll work to provide vital care to vulnerable people.
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
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