What To Bring
Pack light! Since BMC has meals available and washers/dryers you don’t have to bring the kitchen sink.
You must have an up-to-date passport with an entry visa for Ghana. Your passport cannot expire within 6 months of your departure from Ghana. Your travel agent can help you get a visa or you can contact the embassy of Ghana in Washington, D.C. but realize that it may take 2-3 weeks so start early.
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 (download a pre-filled form for volunteers) and details about the visa application process are on the US Ghanaian embassy website (or Ghana High Commission in Ontario for Canadian volunteers).
You must present proof of the yellow fever vaccination. Bring your yellow immunization card with you as you may be asked to show this when going through customs at the airport in Accra. Find out more about required vaccines.
- Lightweight washable clothes: thin cotton, polyester
- Men: Short sleeve shirts, khaki or thin nylon cargo pants. Please do not wear shorts when working.
- Women: Please be modest and wear culturally & professionally appropriate attire. Such as 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 escarpment
- Women: Running shorts and tops for running only, preferably on the hospital compound
- Raingear during rainy season (May to November): poncho/rain jacket/small umbrella… you will have to walk to hospital, 5 minute walk, but rains can be heavy
- 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
- Zofran 4 mg ODT for nausea
- 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.
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!!!
- 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
- 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
- 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.