MMI in Ghana

Ghana is located in Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Cote d’Ivoire and Togo. Accra is the capital city of Ghana with a population of about 2,000,000 people. English is the official language of Ghana and is universally used in schools in addition to nine other local languages. There are over 100 ethnic groups living in Ghana. The largest are Akan, Moshi-Dagbani, Ewe, and Ga. The Ashanti tribe of the Akan are the largest tribe and one of the few societies in West Africa where lineage is traced through the mother and maternal ancestors. The most widely spoken local languages are Ga, Dagomba, Akan and Ewe.

Dr Bob Schoffstall with Kofi and Vivian Ghartey

Dr Bob Schoffstall with Kofi and Vivian Ghartey

 

MMI’s work in Ghana stretches back several decades. MMI has taken teams to Ghana on an annual basis, many under the leadership of Dr. Bob Schoffstall and his wife Peggy until they retired in 2006.

MMI Canada began to support the efforts of Dr. Kofi & Vivian Ghartey and  “Sight for Africa” in 2006.

Collins Antwi is MMI’s Ghana Project Director. He is an electrical/electronic engineer and first participated as a volunteer with an MMI eye project in 2006 in his country. He served as a member of the staff of our principle partner in Ghana, “Sight for Africa”. According to Collins who is passionate about INTEGRATED HEALTH EDUCATION, "sometimes the solution is to talk to the man (parents) of the house or share information to reduce child labour, school drop outs, infant malaria mortality, diseases and abuse of women etc."

Collins Antwi, Ghana Project Director

Collins Antwi, Ghana Project Director

Sight for Africa

 

Sight for Africa was set up in 2003 with the sole aim of providing eye care services to the poor and vulnerable and the need to avoid preventable blindness. In 2004,  MMI Canada began to support the efforts of Dr. Kofi & Vivian Ghartey and  “Sight for Africa”. Kofi Ghartey, an optician living in Canada for 30 years, returned to his native Ghana with a vision to serve his people. A full eye clinic was developed in Accra, Ghana’s capital, and it is now an MMI Partner Health Center.  MMI Canada ships needed equipment and supplies to support “Sight for Africa”.

In Ghana, the major causes of avoidable blindness are: Cataract, Glaucoma, Trachoma, Childhood blindness and Refractive Errors.

 

The objective of the vision program is to perform cataract surgery, provide optometry care, conduct screenings, and to educate patients on being independent without their sight. Outreach programs took place within the Asante Akim North district; the focus of the team was to treat the majority especially the aged who are mostly blinded by cataract. 

Primary & Surgical Care

MMI has led projects in Breman. Breman Asikuma is located at the North-Eastern part of the Central Region of Ghana, a two and a half hour drive from Accra. The population of Brema Asikuma is about 12,391 people and they are mainly peasant farmers. There are few government workers predominately teachers, and civil servants. There are also a few migrant farmers and workers. The people are mostly indigenous. The project team focused their efforts throughout 8 villages. Most patients will be women and children with malaria, high blood pressure, diabetes, typhoid, preventative blindness and some skin diseases.

Beginning in 2012, MMI provided OB-GYN care at Barnor Hospital in Accra. In March 2016, our team operated on women suffering with uterine fibroids. There were almost 10 patients involved in the surgery and fortunately, all of them are doing well now. 

Leanne Ferris - Executive Director serving in Ghana

Leanne Ferris - Executive Director serving in Ghana

Project Site:

 

Accra


Accra is the capital city of Ghana with a population of about 2,000,000 people. English is the official language of Ghana and is universally used in schools in addition to nine other local languages. The most widely spoken local languages are Ga, Dagomba, Akan and Ewe. Traditional religions accounts for two-fifths of the population.

* Project Description: The team will serve at Barnor Hospital. Based on last year’s project, we expect to see about 80 general medical patients and perform about 30 surgeries (hysterectomies and myomectomies). The patients will be pre-screened by our local partners and will come from neighboring villages. Vision Care will also be an important part of this project and the team will distribute reading glasses to the patients on an outreach program.

Elevation
61m (200 ft)

Climate
The climate in Ghana is tropical. The weather will be hot and humid.
Average min and max temperatures in Accra, Ghana

Travelling on a Project

Entry & Exit Requirements


Travelers must present a passport, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure. Tourist visa is required. You must carry proof of yellow fever vaccination.

• Americans: Travel visa is required at a cost of $60 USD, and it is recommended to obtain the visa more than 30 days prior to departure. Proof of return or onward travel is required. For more information on the visa application process, please check this website:
http://www.ghanaembassy.org/index.php?page=visas
For more information see the US State Department website:
http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/ghana

• Canadians: Travel visa is required at a cost of $95 CAD, and must be obtained prior to departure. Proof of return or onward travel is required. Please check the following website for the most current entry/exit requirements:
https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/ghana

• International: Please contact MMI office or Raptim Humanitarian Travel for visa requirement if needed.

• The visa application may require a letter from your hotel confirming your reservation.

Application Requirements


Please email ALL CREDENTIALS upon application, as these must go to the Project Director in the country to be translated and then taken to the Ministry of Health to get temporary licenses prior to your arrival.

• For everyone, we need:
- Colour Scan / Photocopy of Passport (photo page)
- Colour photo for your name badge (any good photo, we can adjust size)
- Travel Itinerary
- Supply Lists

• Medical Professionals, we also need your:
- Current License (through time of project)
- Diploma (Techs, Nursing, Dental, MD and Board Certifications)
- Curriculum Vitae or Resume (this also will help the Project Director know your skills & experience to assign you a task on the project, especially for 1st time participants)
- The Medical and Dental Council in Ghana requires all Medical Professionals to register in country prior to the start of the project. The cost is approximately $600(USD) and will be confirmed by MMI Canada office upon receipt of your project application. Medical Professionals that already have a temporary license in Ghana will need to renew their license for a fee of $100(USD). Cost to be verified.
- Medical personnel should carry a photocopy or wallet-sized copy of your license to practice medicine as you travel. This will help facilitate customs procedures if you are bringing medicines, instruments or other supplies. The registration approval from the Medical and Dental Council of Ghana or the Nurses Council of Ghana will be provided to you at the project.

• Health Care Students: Letter of Good Standing from your school (including year of study and graduation date).

• All MINORS travelling with only one parent, or without their parents, will need a letter from BOTH parents stating that it is OK for the child to travel with one parent or an appointed guardian. The letter should be signed and notarized. MMI needs a copy of this letter, and the parent or guardian should carry the orignial letter while travelling.

Travel


Once you have been accepted on the project, you can contact our designated travel agency to arrange your travel and coordinate your arrival the team.

Raptim Humanitarian Travel: www.raptim.org

• US Applicants: Travel costs are arranged directly with the travel agent and are in addition to the Participant Project Donation.
Contact our “Serve Team 2”: ServeTeam2.us@raptim.org
Direct Toll Free: 1-844-882-3233 and ask for the agents by name or extension.
Lead Agents – Claudia (ext. 13302), or Michael (ext. 15004).

• Canadian Applicants: Donations to MMI for travel are in addition to the Participant Project Donation.
Contact our “We Partner” team: wepartner.na@raptim.org
905-465-4300 or Toll Free: 1-844-442-6978 & ask for the agents by name.
Lead Agents - Anca (ext. 32327), or Connie (ext. 31771).

• International Applicants: Travel arrangement can be procured locally or following the Canadian instructions above.

• Airport: Kotoka International Airport (ACC), Accra

Immunizations


We strongly recommend that you consult a travel clinic, as they are aware of outbreaks and can suggest preventative immunizations. All routine immunizations should be up-to-date. Please check the following website for the most current information.

• Americans: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/ghana

• Canadians: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/countries-pays/country-pays-eng.php?id=306

Accommodations and Meals


MMI will arrange local accommodations for the team.
• Laundry Service: usually available for additional fee
• AC: dependent on location
• Phone Service: check with your cell phone provider, roaming is very expensive.
• Wifi/Internet: dependent on location
• Voltage: 220v-240v (converter or adaptor required)
• Meals: MMI will provide meals for the team. Dietary restrictions can be indicated on your application and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. Be sure to bring your own re-usable water bottle with a wide mouth for refilling. Purified water is supplied.

Culture

• Language: English (official) and indigenous languages
• Religion:
- Christian: 71.2%
- Muslim: 17.6%
- Traditional: 5.2%
- Other: 0.8%
• Government: Presidential Republic

Currency


The Ghana Cedis (GHS) is the currency. MMI staff will help you exchange money once you arrive. Bring US bills over $50.00 in good condition (new and clean with no marks or tears). Bills less than $50.00 are exchanged for a small rate. Traveler’s checks are not easily cashed. $100 bills older than 2006 are also not accepted.

                                                                                                           MMI GHANA TEAM

                                                                                                           MMI GHANA TEAM

About Ghana

COUNTRY BACKGRound

Known for its gold in colonial times, Ghana remains one of the world’s top gold producers and is also noted for their timber, diamonds, cocoa, pineapple, bauxite and manganese production. The economy continues to rely heavily on agriculture which accounts for 35% of GDP and provides employment for 60% of the work force.

Ghana is a conservative and deeply religious country.  Although modern attitudes prevail, respect is shown for traditional values and morals.  However, the pace of life is not conservative.  Ghanaian culture is characterized by a bustle and vibe of social gatherings, which is always colourful and often musical.  The celebration of festivals is an essential part of life, whether for child-birth, rites of passage, puberty, marriage or death.

GEOGRAPHY

LOCATION:

Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Cote d'Ivoire and Togo

GEOGRAPHIC COORDINATES:

8 00 N, 2 00 W

MAP REFERENCES:

Africa

 

LAND BOUNDARIES:

TOTAL:

2,420 km

BORDER COUNTRIES:

Burkina Faso 602 km                                                              Cote d'Ivoire 720 km                                                               Togo 1,098 km

COASTLINE:

539 km

MARITIME CLAIMS:

12 nautical miles

CLIMATE:

Tropical; warm and comparatively dry along southeast coast; hot and humid in southwest; hot and dry in north

TERRAIN:

Mostly low plains with dissected plateau in south-central area

ELEVATION EXTREMES:

LOWEST POINT:

Atlantic Ocean - 0 m

HIGHEST POINT:

Mount Afadjato - 885 m