What To Bring

Pack light! Since BMC has meals available and washers/dryers you don’t have to  bring the kitchen sink.

Documents Needed

Passport

Passport

You must have an up-to-date passport with an entry visa for Ghana. Your travel agent can get this for you or you can contact the embassy of Ghana in Washington, D.C. but realize that it may take a month or two so start early.

Visa

Visas (not the credit card!) are usually good for 90 days but can be extended once you arrive. For a little more money you can obtain a multiple-entry visa that is good for a year in case you may be planning to come in and out of the country during that time. The visa application is online in PDF form and details about the visa application process are on the US Ghanaian embassy website (or Ghana High Commission in Ontario for Canadian volunteers).

Yellow Card

You do not need to present proof of the yellow fever vaccination if you are coming from the US, Canada, or Europe. However, we recommend you bring your yellow immunization card with you if you have it as you may be asked to show this when going through customs at the airport in Accra. Find out more about required vaccines.

Medical Licensing

It is critical that doctors and dentists volunteering for the first time contact us (volunteers@baptistmedicalcenter.org) about the licensing process.
More details on the Medical Volunteers page.

Clothing

BMC LaundryBMC has washers and driers available so you don’t need to bring your entire wardrobe.  Bring enough changes of clothes for 3-4 days without washing.

  • Lightweight washable clothes: thin cotton, polyester
  • Men: Short sleeve shirts, khaki or thin nylon cargo pants
  • Women: Skirts or dresses below knee length, short sleeve tops – NO TANK TOPS, no low cut tops
  • Scrubs should NOT be worn outside of the OR
    More info about hospital attire on the Medical Volunteers page
  • Sandals are best footwear
  • Enclosed shoes – one pair, either for night wear to and from the hospital or for hiking at the Nakpanduri escarpment
  • Running shorts and tops for running only, preferably not right on the compound
  • Raingear during rainy season (May to November): poncho/rain jacket/small umbrella… you will have to walk to hospital, 10 minute walk, but rains can be heavy
  • FLASHLIGHT/HEADLAMP

Medications

Pills waiting to be sorted in the pharmacy at BMC.Medications to consider bringing with you:

  • Malaria prophylaxis
    Doxycycline is not effective in Ghana any more. The two best choices are Malarone and Larium, however discuss with your travel doctor. FYI: Larium can cause seizures, hallucinations, psychosis and/or nightmares.
  • Bring with you a supply of any medication you usually take, whether prescription or over-the-counter (OTC).
  • Cipro 500 mg… if you get the GI bug, it is likely e. coli, you can take Cipro 500 mg BID for 3 days
  • Pepto tabs
  • Ibuprofen/Acetaminophen
  • Zofran 4 mg ODT for nausea
  • Antihistamines/decongestants
  • Antibiotic ointment/antifungal ointment

Because of climate and exposure to various diseases, be sure to have a nourishing diet at all times. It may be advisable to take a vitamin supplement. If you need a sugar or salt substitute, bring it.

Cosmetics & Toiletries

Bring your own:

  • Deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, etc… (travel size is best)
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, powder, combs, brushes, razor, hair dryer (110v electricity is available in Nalerigu, NOT in Accra)
  • Sunscreen & insect repellant (Deet 20-35%) – See Malaria
  • Kleenex, hand sanitizer, handi wipes, chapstick, and makeup

Theoretically you can get these things, but NOT in Nalerigu on a regular basis; so – BRING YOUR OWN!!!

Odds & Ends

  • Common food items that can be purchased in Nalerigu.Snacks – food options in Nalerigu are limited
  • Coffee addict?
    We’ve got a coffee pot in House #6 but you’ll need to bring your own coffee/filters/instant coffee
  • HEADLAMP/FLASHLIGHT with extra batteries
  • Battery powered alarm clock with extra batteries
  • Laptop/tablet/chargers
  • A pocketknife can also be useful (be sure to put it in your checked luggage!)
  • Reading material
  • Movies – we have a DVD player & TV in House #6 with a random collection of movies & TV shows left behind by past volunteers.
  • Travel size toilet paper and hand sanitizer….mostly in case of breakdown between Tamale and the compound, but useful to carry in daypack to hospital

Volunteer Items to Bring for Use in Hospital

Dr. George Faile III before operating.The following items are ones that can always be put to use at BMC. If you can bring some of these it would be much appreciated.

  • Unsterile & sterile gloves
  • Printed copies of Medical Protocol
  • Cloth tape/sports tape
  • Ace bandages, all sizes
  • Scissors, all sizes (remember to put in checked luggage!)
  • Masks/caps/booties for theatre
  • Disposable scrub brushes
  • Crocs or shoes… leave them when you leave
  • Small crayon boxes (5-10 colors) and coloring books is always a treat for the children in the pediatrics ward. Stickers and small candies are also much appreciated.

Meds to Bring for Hospital

Following are some meds you can bring for the hospital. Please ask attendings who are there what else to bring (volunteers@baptistmedicalcenter.org).

  • Cytotec (Misoprotol) 100 mcg
    (give to OB doctor in attendance – currently Lynn Coppola)
  • Ultrasound gel (sterile gel in individual packs)
  • Albuterol for nebulizers
  • PREMIXED (give to nurses in Peds, NOT to pharmacy)
  • REUSABLE surgical gowns
  • Sutures after a hernia repair at BMC.Suture-ONLY THESE LISTED:
    • 0 and 1 Vicryl CTX
    • 0 and 1 Prolene CTX
    • 0 and 1 Chromic Taper
    • 3-0 and 4-0 Ethilon for skin suturing
    • 3-0 and 4-0  Vicryl SH
DO NOT BRING
  • Out of date meds
  • Other sutures not listed above
  • No junk
  • High tech equipment…can’t be repaired and breaks quickly