Last month, Dr. Haun and her family returned to Ghana after Kotoka International Airport (KIA) re-opened. Here Rev. William Haun describes what volunteers traveling to BMC should know in order to be prepared for a smooth travel experience during the pandemic.
We hope this helps as you prepare to come serve with us again. Please visit the official KIA website for the latest news, guidelines and updates.
1) You must have a negative PCR test result from an accredited laboratory in your country of origin and it must be administered within 72 hours of your scheduled departure time.
Our family flew out of Tampa, Florida on a Saturday evening at 6pm, so we had our PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests done on Thursday morning at noon (54 hours prior) using a LabCorps testing site. We had our results within 24 hours via an online health portal and we printed two copies of each result to carry with us during travel.
We flew Delta/KLM and had a layover in Amsterdam. There we had to present the test result documents before we were even allowed to go to our gate. Then it was double checked before boarding. We saw passengers turned away because their tests were older than 72 hours from their departure in their country of origin.
Note: our “country of origin” was the US, not The Netherlands.
2) You will be denied entry if you have “symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 including body temperature > 38°C (100.4°F)”
Even if your COVID-19 test is NEGATIVE, the official KIA guidelines state that they can deny you entry for symptoms or fever. For this reason, our family made sure we had the flu vaccine in the US before coming.
You may wish to postpone your travel if you are showing common cold or flu-like symptoms, despite a NEGATIVE COVID test.
3) You have to complete an online Health Declaration Form before passing immigration in Accra.
We did not know about this in advance but KIA had several iPads available for us to use. I would recommend you fill out the form before leaving the US to save yourself time in Accra. It is available here: https://ghs-hdf.org/
4) Upon arrival at KIA, everyone must get a rapid COVID-19 test. The cost is $150 per person.
Again, we didn’t realize we could pay the $150 in advance online and I recommend that to all travelers. You can pay at the following website: https://myfrontierhealthcare.com/Home/Pay Be sure to print your receipt and you will present it to the officials at KIA before undergoing your COVID test.
If you don’t pay online, you can pay in cash or credit card at the airport. We paid with new $100 US bills.
The testing process was very orderly and professionally executed. After your nose is swabbed in a cubicle by a nurse, you then proceed to immigration and on to baggage claim. You are not permitted to leave with your baggage until your test result arrives and is NEGATIVE.
The KIA website claims it takes 12 minutes. However, you will spend at least 30 minutes in immigration and baggage claim. Two of our family members’ results were ready as soon as we had our luggage. However, Dr. Haun and a few other passengers on our flight had to wait almost 2 hours for their results. It was never made clear to us what the issue had been.
5) If your airport test is POSITIVE, you will be quarantined at a government hospital for two weeks at your own personal expense.
We thank God that we were all NEGATIVE. If you tested NEGATIVE before your flight, wore a mask during travel and followed good hygiene protocols, you should not have any issue with the test upon arrival.
However, anyone coming must understand that there is a risk that they could be quarantined if their test comes back POSITIVE.
6) The wearing of masks is required in public in Ghana until (at least) December 14th.
In Accra, you will see many people wearing masks and many businesses require hand washing, temperature checks, and masks for entry. There is a hefty fine if you are caught not wearing your mask (minimum $2000, max $10000).
That said, once you reach the northern regions you will observe that “pandemic fatigue” has set in and most Ghanaians are no longer wearing masks. Enforcement has not been consistent and many in the general public believe that COVID is a non-issue in the north.
BMC in Nalerigu, however, continues to require masks for staff, patients, and visitors to the hospital.
7) A NEGATIVE COVID-19 test is not required to leave Ghana or enter the US (as of Oct. 6th)
However, here at BMC we have rapid tests available (BIOSYS Plus – SARS-COV-2 IgM/IgG Rapid Test) and can test volunteers before they leave BMC. We can provide you with an official document to carry stating your NEGATIVE test result as you return to your country of origin.
After taking a year of sabbatical leave that was unexpectedly extended by several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, BMC’s surgeon Dr. Heidi Haun, her husband Rev. William Haun and their children returned to Nalerigu on September 24th.
During her absence, her role at BMC as surgical consultant was graciously filled by volunteer physician Dr. Anastasia Furtak.
The Haun family has committed to another 4-year term of volunteer service at BMC.
In a recent memo, the management of the Ghana Baptist Convention’s guest house in Accra announced that its costs will go up by 17.5% as they are legally required to collect VAT (Value Added Tax).
This increase only applies to the guest house in Accra, not the BMC guest house’s cost.
Dear valued customer,
Please be informed that the Ghana Baptist Guest House is now registered for VAT( Value Added Tax) collection on behalf of government.We are hereby notifying you all that our rates as from Monday 22nd July, 2019 will have 17.5% of the total value added to it as we are legally required to do.
We assure you of our continued homely hospitality at all times.
If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact the Accra Guest House’s staff directly at [email protected] or +233 302 777 542.
It is with heavy hearts that we share with you the passing of Bawa Ziblim (photo center) on Sunday, April 14th.
For decades, “Mr. Bawa,” as he was affectionately called, served as a cook to BMC missionary doctors and volunteers. He was an incredibly humble and dedicated man who always strived to meet any and every need of the volunteers in his care. His service behind-the-scenes was critical to the quality care provided by the many volunteer physicians every year at BMC.
Please keep his wife Comfort, his children, and his grandchildren in your prayers during this difficult time.
We are excited to welcome Dr. Anastasiia Furtak to our volunteer staff at BMC.
Dr. Furtak hails from Ukraine and is a licensed general surgeon. She will be working alongside BMC surgeon Dr. Heidi Haun until Dr. Haun takes a one-year leave of absence beginning in July 2019. Then Dr. Furtak will take over the surgery department’s responsibilities until Dr. Haun and her family return in June 2020.
We are so grateful that God has answered our prayers for someone to step into this role during Dr. Haun’s absence. Please keep Dr. Furtak in your prayers as she learns the ropes and adjusts to life in northern Ghana.
Please enjoy these highlights from our day of celebration on November 8, 2018.
Various Cultural Dance Performances
Today BMC celebrated its 60th Anniversary with a huge event held in the field next to public health. In addition to many BMC alums attending, the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia attended as the guest of honor. Here are some photos from the event: Read More
A Speech Delivered by the NaYiri – Naa Bohagu Mahami Abdulai Sheriga, Overlord of the Mamprugu Traditional Area on the Occasion of 60 Years Celebration of Baptist Medical Centre on the 8th November, 2018 at Nalerigu, Ghana.
Your Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia,
Our own MP for Nalerigu-Gambaga Constituency and Minister for Local Government and Rural Development – Labginsim Pɔ’anaaba, Hajia Alima Mahama, Ministers of State present, Members of Parliament present,
The presence of Ghana Baptist Convention,
Representative of International Mission Board,
Representative of the George Faile Foundation,
The Chairman of Baptist Health Services Council,
The Regional Director of Health Service, CEO of National Health Institution Authority, MMDCEs present,
My revered chiefs of Mamprugu and beyond present,
The management team and staff of BMC, Heads of Departments present,
The security personnel present, our friends, the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure on my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Mamprugu, to welcome all of you gathered here today, to join in the celebration of 60th anniversary of this great health service institution of ours: BAPTIST MEDICAL CENTRE.
From its humble beginning in the late fifties, it has provided quality health care services to clients from within Ghana and across borders into Togo and Burkina Faso.
As we celebrate the 60 years of providing quality services, I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the founding fathers who contributed so much towards its growth.
In this regard, I would like to mention Dr. George M. Faile II, prominent medical doctor of BMC among others. My own father, the NaYiri at that time, Naa-Sheriga Abdulai Mahami who readily bought the idea of the hospital when it was proposed and gave out land generously.
As we pay glowing tributes to founding fathers of the hospital I do not lose sight of the enormous contribution of both the past and current crop of workers.
It is they who have made BMC what it is today through their dedication and commitment to service. Through their hard work, BMC stands tall among health facilities in the north in particular and the country as a whole.
In the development arena, BMC has indirectly contributed in no small way towards the development of Mamprugu. The outreach activities of the Public Health Department of the hospital have helped in the opening up of the area particularly in the East Mamprugu Municipality.
Most of the rural communities have been made accessible through the outreach programs. As the then chief of Gbangdaa, in the 80s, the BMC Public Health team visited my community and others regularly for child-welfare clinics when there was hardly any motorable road.
Your Excellency the Vice President, ladies and gentlemen, as we celebrate BMC’s 60 years of service to Mamprugu, I would like to acknowledge the contribution of major stakeholders whose roles I cannot forget to mention.
The people of Mamprugu have contributed to the growth of BMC by ensuring that there has been peace. There is no gain saying that Mamprugu has enjoyed relative peace over the years, and as we look into the future, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to all the people of Mamprugu to ensure that we continue to maintain the prevailing peace. For without peace there cannot be any meaningful development.
The International Mission Board who initiated the idea of the hospital. For some period IMB was the main financial supporter of the institution. It is worth noting that even though the administrative responsibility of the BMC is now with the Ghana Baptist Convention, IMB still gives some financial support.
It is my hope that this support will continue in order to enhance its growth.
Since taking over the mantle of running the hospital, the Ghana Baptist Convention through its Medical Services Council, has demonstrated its commitment and determination of making sure that BMC grows through the building of its capacity.
Sometime last year, I was privileged to cut the sod for the construction of new wards. These wards when completed will increase the hospital inpatient capacity. It has come to my notice that the projects is a little behind and I therefore want to take this time to call on the contractor to speed up work so that wards would be completed as soon as possible.
As I mentioned earlier, the founding fathers of BMC gave their best, they worked hard and through that many lives were saved and continue to be saved.
To those of you who are building on what they laid, I would urge you to follow their example so that the enviable reputation their efforts have brought to BMC will not be lost.
For roles played by all other stakeholders to ensure that BMC continues to serve humanity, I say thank you, Mamprugu owes you tons of gratitude, BMC is Mamprugu and Mamprugu is BMC.
I am aware that, there is a shortage of doctors in the hospital. I would want to appeal to both the IMB and the Ghana Baptist Convention to do their best to recruit more doctors into the hospital.
To conclude, I would like to digress a little. In 2017, I petitioned the President of the Republic of Ghana His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo for the creation of the North East Region. God being on our side, our petition was granted and what is left is a referendum. By this, we are expected to come out in our numbers to vote YES for the Region.
As a result, I am taking this opportunity to appeal to all sons and daughters of Mamprugu to give me their support by coming out and voting massively YES for North East Region. I cannot wait to see this happen.
On this note, I wish BMC a blessed 60th anniversary celebration, and God bless us all.
Long live Ghana
Long live Mamprugu
Long live BMC
With this week’s big 60th anniversary celebration approaching fast, our guesthouse is filling up with familiar faces. It’s an honor to have these BMC Alumni with us:
- Dr. George & Elisabeth Faile
- Dr. Earl Hewitt
- Jane Paysinger (not pictured)
- Cherry Faile
- Bart Gibbs
- Dr. Fuller Robinson (not pictured)
- Tommy Harrison (not pictured)
Also pictured are the Cahill, Haun and Ackom families as well as visiting IMB missionary Alan Locke.