What is the Volunteer in a Laboratory in Ghana project all about?
Come to Accra and volunteer in a laboratory in a Ghana and work in a local hospital, clinic or lab supporting a local community. Volunteering in a laboratory isn’t usually the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Ghana, but the need for support in this area is there nevertheless! The lab is small to medium size and community-based dedicated to meet the needs of the clinicians and patients to
provide diagnosis. The lab runs tests for a local hospital that offers services in general medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, laboratory tests, x-ray, dermatology, venereology, ophthalmology, ECG, mother and child healthcare and ultrasound. For all these departments there is only one laboratory where all patients get sent to for tests which means that there is an incredibly high workload.
Living conditions, bathing in dirty water, unclean, dust lead to a number of different ailments. Malaria is a problem and there is a new case everyday – testing in the laboratory focuses mainly on blood but also urine and faeces. HIV testing is also common. The laboratory itself is a small space but it is always busy as it is much in demand, and the waiting area outside is often full of patients, young and old. Come and work in a laboratory in Ghana and gain an insight not only into local diseases and diagnosis but also to work alongside a hard working friendly local team.
Why choose this Volunteer in a Laboratory project?
Volunteering in a laboratory is not the most common project choice for those considering embarking upon a volunteering trip and projects based in laboratories are few and far between. Because volunteering abroad in a laboratory is relatively unheard of many laboratories go without volunteer support when it is, in fact, something that would benefit them greatly. For anyone with an interest in a laboratory placement this project is a great place to start. The hospital values the addition of international volunteers to its team as it strongly believes in cross culture awareness and the building of global citizenship.
Role of the Healthcare Volunteer
Volunteers will assist wherever is needed in the laboratory. Your role will vary depending on your experience but you will work under the supervision of a local clinician. Activities may involve talking to patients, recording information, logging information onto the computer system, administering the appropriate tests and also analysing laboratory results. You may also be put to work by collecting blood from patients, using the laboratory equipment to diagnose, learning new manual diagnostic techniques and data handling. Whether you have experience or not is not important as there are many tasks that you can get involved in and the work you do will be greatly appreciated by local staff.
What skills do I need to be a Healthcare Volunteer in Ghana?
No particular skills are required to Work in a Laboratory in Ghana although any experience will certainly be helpful to you. You must have a keen interest in volunteering in a laboratory, be enthusiastic and willing to take on any task that is given to you. The laboratory is a small place and therefore it is essential that you work well with others and as part of a team. If you demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills and a good aptitude you may be given the opportunity to help in other ways, but these decisions are always made by the local team.
Volunteers interested in tropical diseases, lab chemistry, microbiology, haematology will find this placement very interesting and anyone who is an expert or has proven skills in an area may be able to do extra tasks under supervision. You will be asked to send your CV/resume before being accepted onto this project.
WHY JOIN THE PROJECT
To get work specific experience
To improve your knowledge about lab chemistry
To spend some time away from your everyday life
Where will I work in Ghana?
About the Location
Your project will be based in western Accra, the bustling capital city of Ghana with a modern landscape hugging the Gulf of Guinea. This impressive city, which ceases to amaze its visitors, boasts a waterfront location. However, most of Accra’s action happens away from the coastline with recent developments turning this once scattered village, into an extensive low-rise skyline city. Take note of the elegant 19th century buildings – a reminder of the colonial era – that contrast heavily with the new urban landscape of modern hotels, apartments and offices blocks. It’s safe to say that Accra is an exhausting yet exhilarating city with the hustle and bustle giving way to coveted areas of peace and tranquillity. Accra is also one of the fastest growing cities in Africa in relation to population and its economy with 2.6 million people inhabiting the city centre and the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA).
Despite all of this, Accra is a city where most people are suffering from poverty. Alongside the tall office blocks and modern apartments, the city is also home to around 25 slums and communities. Not to mention that this urban environment is continually growing bigger by in-migration of people from the surrounding rural areas.
You will be staying in a shared volunteer house alongside other volunteers for the duration of your trip. The volunteer house is based in a residential peri-urban area of west Accra near to Pokuase with access to a small number of local shops. You will have access to a shared bathroom – complete with running water – and a common room inside the volunteer house. The common room is a great place to catch up with other volunteers on the project and prepare project work for the day ahead if required. There is also a balcony that you will have access to which is a perfect place to relax and take some time out.
What to do in your spare time
There’s plenty to do within the hustle and bustle of Accra outside your projects working hours. Why not take a trip to the National Theatre and see what’s on? You could also visit the National Museum and discover the array of artifacts on display. Alternatively, a trip down to the fishing port at James Town or Makola Market could make for an interesting day out during the weekends.
If you want to visit a beach whilst you’re in Ghana then there is plenty to choose from. You could head over to the Gulf of Guinea to relax on the beachfront after a hard weeks work and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Another suggestion would be to go west of Accra, perhaps with a group of volunteers, to explore La Pleasure Beach and Kokrobite Beach.
If you’ve had enough of beaches then why not explore further afield and head to Kumasi, where the palace sets out the history of the Asanti, and is also home to the biggest market in Ghana that sells everything from spices to jewellery and more; an experience not to be missed. For those of you seeking a little more laid back experience, then visit the Volta Region or Cape Coast. Don’t miss Ghana’s many cultural and natural attractions!
If you are willing to travel further over the course of the weekend, then we advise you visit one of the 16 National parks in Ghana and embark on a safari tour. You’ll be able to see plenty of wildlife, including some of the well known large mammals.
Details & Costs
- Duration: 2 – 12 weeks
- Cost: £1227 / $1915 for 2 weeks
£144 / $224 for each additional week.
- Requirements: age 18+
- Location: Accra, Ghana
- Project activities: Interviewing patients and carrying out laboratory tests, matching tests to records
- Working hours: Monday – Friday 8:00am – 3:00pm
- Project availability All year round, except 15th December – 5th January
- Arrival day: Saturday
What is included
- Accommodation: Dorm room for 2 – 4 people in a volunteer house with large shared kitchen, and volunteer planning room and veranda
- Food: Communal evening dinner during weekdays
- Airport pick up from Kotoko International Airport, Accra
- Training: Healthcare ethics & culture doc, pre-departure info pack, learning reflection manual, on-site orientation and project induction provided
- Kaya Healthcare Placements Ethics and Best Practice Guide Kaya Healthcare
- Ethics and Cultural Preparedness Pre-departure document
- Health Learning Reflection Document
- Fundraising Guide
- Support: 24 hour support from on-site coordinator
What is not included
- Airport drop off
- Transport to and from projects
- Police/Government Background Check; US and UK citizens will be processed through Kaya (admin fee applies) all other nationalities must provide local police check.
- Breakfast and lunches during the workweek, and all meals on weekends.
Easy 3-step application process
APPLY ONLINE Click here to apply online and pay your deposit to secure your space on your chosen project. Our advisors will then contact you to guide you through the next steps.
TELEPHONE INTERVIEW Once we’ve received your application, we’ll be in touch to arrange your informal telephone interview with your Kaya Placement Advisor.
GET PREPARED When you’ve been accepted onto your project we’ll send you your Welcome Pack and lots of other helpful information to assist you with preparing for your placement.
HAVE A QUESTION?
We pride ourselves on providing you high quality placement information throughout your application process and whilst on the ground. Connect with us if you have any questions.
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