Even in the 21st century, healthcare comes at a premium in many parts of the world. Volunteer abroad at the Manhyia government hospital, based in central Kumasi, Ghana, and find plenty of opportunities to help improve the health and well-being of underserved communities, and gain first-hand experience and insight into the Ghanaian healthcare system. The work of the healthcare system in Ghana is not only to treat immediate cases but also to educate the local communities in preventative measures.
PMGY’s Ghana Medical Volunteer’s program organises placements for people of all backgrounds. So whether you’re a recent high school graduate (age 17 and older) who’s looking for work experience to boost your university application, an undergraduate, or a nursing / medical student organising an overseas elective placement, we have just the project for you!
You will find the staff at the healthcare facilities welcome your support and are eager to share information. Over the course of your placement, you will witness a range of cases that you may never come across in a UK medical setting, such as Typhoid, Polio and TB. You will also have the chance to learn about tropical diseases such as Malaria, Leishmaniasis and Dengue. Although the hospital has adopted modern forms of treatment, you will experience how cases are treated within an under-resourced and poorly staffed healthcare system and how the staff faces these challenges. Furthermore, you will see how cultural factors and a lack of education/health awareness impact the alarmingly high number of preventable cases admitted each day. Many students also find it fascinating to witness the dynamics of the doctor-patient relationship in comparison to medical settings in the UK and abroad.
Those with little or no medical experience assume a largely observational role. If you are a medical or pre-medical student, you may have the opportunity for some more basic hands-on involvement, at the discretion of medical staff.
It is important to be mindful that the work you are assigned is not above your comfort or qualification level.
The maximum recommended duration for a medical experience is 6 weeks. As for all PMGY volunteer in Ghana programs, it is possible to combine your healthcare program with other community based volunteering projects, such as helping at the orphanage or the teaching project. If this is something you’d like to do, please apply for the medical volunteer program but also outline the details of the other projects that interest you in your online application. Our local team will finalise the details of your placements during your in-country orientation.
Your first night in Ghana will be spent at a hostel near Kotoka International Airport in Accra. Our partner hostel offers basic but comfortable accommodation. You will share an air-conditioned room with fellow volunteers. A member of the PMGY Ghana team will also stay at the hostel to ensure you have 24/7 support and will travel with you to Kumasi, which is approximately five hours away, the next day.
During your time with PMGY in Ghana, you will live in our Volunteer House, located in a friendly neighborhood, a 45 minutes drive from Kumasi city centre. Not only is there is a small shop opposite the Volunteer House, you will find restaurants, convenience stores and ATMs in the center of town, where the local community is extremely friendly.
Your home away from home is basic but comfortable with free Wi-Fi (although intermittent). Each room is furnished with bunk beds for up to 6 people per same-sex rooms. Volunteers are provided with bed linen, fans, and their own mosquito net. Bathrooms are shared, have a shower and UK style toilet. The water is cold but this shouldn’t be a problem as Ghana is hot all year-round!
The Volunteer House is shared by volunteers from a variety of programs, only adding to the richness of your experience. In the communal area, you’ll find a lounge with a TV and DVD player and an outside seating area. Volunteers are welcome to use the kitchen to prepare meals or even help out when meals are being prepared. A member of our local team will also live at the house which is gated and secure. Our local coordinator lives on-site to ensure you have around the clock support and security.
When not working, there is plenty to do with your new friends in Kumasi, which is Ghana’s second biggest city, like exploring Kejetia Market, the Menhya Palace, or Lake Bosumtri, the only natural lake in Ghana.
Please note in advance that power cuts and water shortages are very common in Ghana, but alternative solutions exist when these circumstances arise.
During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.
Access to healthcare in Ghana has improved dramatically since the introduction of the National Health Insurance Act in 2003. The hospitals are poorly resourced and under-staffed by UK standards, so you will have a very eye-opening experience. You will be placed in a number of different departments, so that you can receive broad insight into the Ghanaian healthcare system.
The large majority of patients arrive due to illnesses related to poor sanitation. Malaria is also a huge issue and remains the cause of many deaths and illnesses. In addition, HIV/AIDS continues to harm the lives of so many Ghanaians. Many of the major causes of death and serious illness are avoidable.
The departments we can arrange placements in are:
Adolescent Counselling, Community Health Education, Dentistry, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT), General surgery, Laboratory, Nursing, Maternity & Midwifery, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Ophthalmology, Paediatrics, Pharmacology, Physical Therapy, Physiotherapy, Prenatal, Psychology, Radiology, Ultrasound
The medical staff are accountable for you while you’re under their supervision, so it is completely up to them if you are permitted to get involved in hands-on procedures. Whilst previous PMGY volunteers have been given the chance to administer IV injections, dress wounds etc, we can never guarantee or promote hands-on involvement for participants regardless of their medical experience or background.
We also offer more specific program opportunities for dentistry, medical, midwifery and nursing students looking to take part in an overseas elective. We can tailor the placement around your needs and design your work schedule around the requirements for your elective. PMGY can also complete any paperwork required by your university, as we receive many healthcare students in Ghana for their elective placement.
The cost listed below includes a registration fee of $193.00. The remainder or Program Fee is due 60 days prior to the start of your program.
- Accommodation (Volunteer House)
- Meals (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
- Airport Pick Up (24 Hours)
- In-country Orientation
- 24 Hour In-country Support
- 24 Hour UK-based Support
- Comprehensive Volunteer Handbook
- Live Pre-departure Webinars
- 100% Financial Protection
- Regular program Inspection
- Certificate Of Completion
What’s Not Included
- Transport To Project ($0-$6 Per Day)
- Flights To Accra ($600-$1050)
- Travel Insurance ($22.50 Per Week)
- Return Airport Transfer ($75)
- Visa ($90-$150)
- Criminal Background Check (Varies)
Schedules Project Start Dates
For the majority of our programs you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability in the program – particularly if you’re looking to travel between June and August, as spaces can fill up very quickly during this period. Some of our programs have a limited capacity and spaces get filled very quickly. However, you should always make sure you’re 100% committed to the program before applying.
It is also possible to change your start dates once you have already applied and had your space confirmed. However, please note this does carry an administrative fee of $60 and is subject to availability.
You should arrive at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra (airport code ACC) on the selected Sunday start date. You will be met at the airport by one of our local staff or an appointed driver who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.
The program ends on the Sunday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day.
Founded in 2011 by volunteers for volunteers, Plan My Gap Years works with local communities in the developing world towards long-term sustainable goals. We know there is no better way to travel and make a positive impact in the world.
Our structured programs create the perfect platform for you to see the world, meet like-minded people and engage in meaningful volunteer work. We have teams in the UK and in our host destinations who will support you 24/7 throughout your time with us. Furthermore, every project on our network is regularly risk-assessed by our UK team to ensure our setup is safe and that our volunteers are making a positive impact.
There is also a great social element to our programs. We put you in touch with all your fellow volunteers via Facebook before you set off. Our projects receive volunteers from around the world throughout the year, so even if you’re travelling solo, you’re going to meet heaps of people along the way. Plus you’ll have plenty of opportunity to travel the country with your newfound travel buddies – it’s all part of the PMGY experience!
People like you volunteering with this organization (6)
I was on the fence about medical school, but volunteering at Manhyia hospital changed everything. The staff at PMGY made every effort ...
My experience as a Ghana Medical Volunteer was so much more than I could ever have imagined. I made friends from all ...
Just being on hand to help the doctors and nurse practitioners care for families in Kumasi was very fulfilling. ...
I couldn’t make up mind which which program interested me the most -- medical volunteering or volunteering with disabled children....