Doing my elective in Ghana has been unforgettable. I've learnt so much about the culture, the healthcare and the people. There have definitely been challenges while I've been here but it's all been part of the experience and I'm so glad I did it. I have gained a huge amount of experience in tropical diseases and nursing in an environment where resources are not as readily available as they are at home.
I chose Work The World because it was recommended by my university
I chose Work The World because it was recommended by my university and seemed very popular online! I didn't regret my decision at all, the organisation of the team here was flawless and the support we received was amazing. Our transfer from Accra to the house went very smoothly. A member of staff came to meet us and guided us to the hotel where we stayed overnight before we got the coach to Takoradi. The house itself has been perfect. There's a nice communal dining space where everyone can eat together and the rooms are spacious. The food has been incredible, with a variety of Ghanaian dishes as well as those a little closer to home, such as chicken and chips! There is a barbecue every Thursday at the house, which all the staff attend. As well as being a lot of fun, it was a good opportunity to raise any concerns you have with the staff and meet new people - be prepared to dance!
The placement itself was definitely the most difficult aspect of the trip in terms of differences. Due to the lack of resources there is an essence of prioritising those more likely to have a positive outcome over those who aren't. Although this was a bit difficult to accept I understand why that's the way it's done as the resources could be better used elsewhere in the hospital. I did a week each on A&E, paediatrics and delivery. I think my personal favourite was A&E just because there were a variety of cases, which made it less predictable than the other wards.
At the weekends we travelled to other areas of Ghana. We visited the Beyin Beach Resort, which was an amazing place to stay, the stilt village, 'Nzulezo', and saw the tourist attractions in Cape Coast. Cape Coast was particularly good as there was a lot to do. We went to Elmina castle, Hans Cottage (which is a crocodile sanctuary) and Kakum National Park. I'd recommend all of these places, particularly the castle - I learned so much about the slave trade, which was really interesting.
My advice to future students would be to take advantage of any learning opportunity presented and have an open mind when it comes to the hospital. It's difficult not to compare it to the hospitals at home but important to remember that with the resources available the care provided can be limited. Most importantly though, enjoy it. There's so much to learn in Ghana, both in and outside of the hospital, so seize every opportunity!