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Tropical Medicine Elective in Ghana

General Project Information
Type of Project: 
Date of Experience: 
06/29/2013 to 07/28/2013
Project Description: 

This was an elective rotation in Internal Medicine, with a focus in Tropical Medicine.

The Baptist Medical Centre (BMC) is a missionary hospital located in a rural community in northern Ghana. The medical team rounds on all the inpatients every morning. On Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, the doctors, residents, and students run a very busy outpatient department, where up to 500 patients are seen each day, some travelling great distances and from neighboring countries. Students are an integral part of the medical team and are given a lot of responsibility. Students see patients in the outpatient department autonomously. Students can be expected to take a medical history with the help of a translator, perform a physical exam, and come up with diagnostic and management plans, depending on their level of training and their own personal comfort level. The attendings are always available for support and assistance. On Tuesday and Thursday, students can participate in minor procedures (eg: debridement, incision and drainage, excisions, suturing etc) and observe/assist in major surgeries (eg: exploratory laparotomy, mastectomy, hernia repair etc). Students may choose to partake in evening rounds, where all the new admissions are seen. 

Student Experience
First Name: 
Last Name: 
Description of Student Experience: 

This medical elective was a very special experience. I was exposed to a large volume of patients and encountered a huge variety of medical illness. I had the unique opportunity to observe how illness is experienced within a different cultural context. As a result of working in a low resource setting with limited ancillary diagnostic tests, I had to rely on and develop my clinical competencies and instincts and learn how to optimize health and well being with limited resources. 

Organization Information
Name of Organization: 
Baptist Medical Centre
Description of Site: 
missionary hospital in a rural community in West Africa
Minimum Time Commitment: 
year round
Main Language Spoken: 
English (staff), Mampruli (patients)
Other Language(s) Spoken: 
numerous local African languages and dialects
Other Information
Funding Source: 
personal funds, McGill Undergraduate Medicine Travel Award
Program Cost: 
Transport ~$2,500, living expenses ~$20/day
Level of Experience Necessary: 
Hours Worked per Week: 
Dress Code: 
casual . It is recommend that women wear long skirts
Travel Details: 
• Air transport o International flight to Accra o Domestic flight from Accra to Tamale • Ground transport (3 hour car ride from Tamale to Nalerigu)
Housing Details: 
• Guesthouse for medical volunteers o Private or shared bedroom and bathroom available o Shared kitchen, dining area, living room o Cook on site that prepares meals (included in daily price) o Filtered water provided o Plumbing and electricity, ceiling fans in rooms o Internet (included in daily price) o Washer/Dryer available for added cost
Essential Items to Bring: 
stethoscope, sphygmomanometer, tropical medicine pocket handbook and drug dosing book, malaria prophylaxis and any other needed medications, sunscreen, insect repellant, flashlight/headlamp, hand sanitizer, examination gloves,