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Volunteers' Stories




Medical Work Experience Internship in Accra, Ghana


The experience of living in a developing country was something I never imagined it would have been like.  From living where I did, I definitely felt like I became more independent. 

At the hospital I gained more experience working in a medical environment than I ever thought I would have. I was able to work in the lab, pharmacy, wards, with the doctors, x-ray room, treatment room, surgery and on the OPD!  I learnt so much when out there and it was very useful to be able to put what I learnt at university into practice! 

I experienced how hospitals work in Ghana and what improvements are needed out there for all patients to be able to get first class treatment!  I always wanted to work in a developing country when I fully qualify as a doctor and this trip has increased that determination! Also I was able to tune my silent actions, when kids or other people didn’t understand English and having to communicate with sign language.

I enjoyed every day, even having malaria and typhoid at the same time! The thing that always sticks out when people ask me what the best thing was is the death that I experienced when at work and how I was asked to help in taking care of the body. The reaction to the family and the treatment of the body at the morgue (it was awful!). Also when patients were informed about being HIV positive, this enabled me to be able to see the reactions of patients and act on their emotions, if that makes sense!?

I would definitely recommend this placement to any other student wanting to get into medicine. It would suit someone who is outgoing, sociable and prepared to work hard.

Can you describe a typical day? 

Up at 07.00, showered in the cold water! And then had breakfast while watching BBC news 24 for half an hour. Left for work to be there for 08.00 getting a taxi or walking if have time. At work it’s a matter of signing in and then heading to the department you are working in and letting them know you have arrived.

Work until around 12.30 before having an hour lunch break and then work again until 16.00. After close, spend about an hour chatting to the staff and then head home.

I then played cards with some local guys and drank their homemade gin until the sun went down and dinner was ready. The evening depended on whether we went out for the night or stayed in.

Bed was usually around 00.00-01.00. We lived with the best family ever and couldn’t have asked to live anywhere else.

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