Medical Volunteers

The following information is specific to medical volunteers who will be working at the hospital.

** Please print a copy of these documents and bring them along on your trip **

Hospital Schedule

7:00-7:30 AM: Chapel service at OPD Monday-Friday for missionaries and hospital staff
7:30-done Monday-Friday: hospital rounds on all wards, with exception of TB ward… Tuesdays only unless pt has a problem
8:00-done Sat/Sun: hospital rounds on all wards, with exception of TB ward… as above

OPD (Clinic): Monday-Wednesday-Friday 10:00AM until done (usually 5:00-6:00PM)
Take a lunch break sometime between 12 and 1-coordinate with other doctors so someone is at OPD during lunch time in case of emergencies.
9:30-10:00AM Mon-Wed-Fri: chapel for patients

AFTER OPD:
Go to theatre to perform minor procedures listed on board… some may be out patient, some may be inpatient
Please do not leave the hospital until all of these have been attended to.

Non Clinic days:
After morning rounds: go to theatre to perform minor procedures listed on board…
Please do not leave the hospital until all of these have been attended to.

Elective Surgery Days: Tuesday, Thursday
Emergencies will be done any time needed

What to Wear

NO white coats… it’s too hot!
NO SCRUBS ON WARDS… only if actually operating or doing dirty procedure in minor theatre rooms.

Men: wear short sleeve shirts and khakis or thin nylon cargo pants… jeans are too hot
Women: wear skirts/dresses below knee plus short sleeve tops… NO low cut tops

Equipment to Bring

For work at the hospital, we suggest that you have a small daypack to carry all the following:

  • Stethoscope/BP cuff with sphygmomanometer
  • Diagnostic set-otoscope and ophthalmoscope
    bring ear tips, there may be some but not in all clinic rooms
  • Penlight/Headlamp
    Daylight in Nalerigu is 6 AM to 6 PM – dark before and after, so you WILL need a light with you at all times!
    A Petzl Zipka has tiny elastic straps and fits on the stethoscope, so you always have a light.
  • Calculator
  • Pens/pencils/sharpies… take a dozen pens at least, none to purchase in Nalerigu
  • Small notepad(s)
  • Exam gloves and sterile gloves, your size (powdered work best because of the heat and humidity)
  • Caps/Masks/Booties – If you are going to be in theatre, bring extra and leave for theatre folks
  • Surgical Gloves
    If you will be operating, it’s best to bring your own surgical gloves. Note that we cannot provide enough gloves for you to double-glove; if you feel that you must do this then you definitely need to bring your own supply.
  • Closed toe crocs – If you are going to be in theatre
  • Throwaway phone or one from US that is unlocked for international use (usually REALLY expensive)
    A phone can be purchased in Accra or on the way from Tamale airport… get a SIM card and phone cards for it… you will need it for call.
  • 2 or 3 water bottles
    Some like to keep one in fridge or freezer and rotate them, so you have cold water at the hospital: NO CLEAN WATER OUTSIDE THE HOUSES ON THE COMPOUND!!!

Doctors on Call

Call

  • Call runs from 7AM to 7AM. Medical assistants are on first call and can do minor suturing and admissions.
  • You will be expected to share call with others who are here, probably 2-3 times per week, depending on the number of volunteers.
  • You will be expected to make rounds at night to check on patients admitted by the medical assistants, see OB cases that the midwife needs help with, and evaluate patients who may need treatment beyond what the medical assistants can do.

Rounds:
7:30 AM Monday-Friday
8:00 AM Sat and Sunday
2:30 PM on non-clinic days
8:30 PM every night

There will be many new admissions to round on each time you make rounds. There are medical assistants seeing walk-ins 24/7, they admit and write for MD to see on rounds, or for MD to see immediately if an emergency (usually trauma, bleeding, uncontrolled seizures, respiratory distress, psychosis)

AIDS

Thankfully, AIDS is not a major problem in Ghana, unlike certain other African nations (HIV statistics) An exact incidence rate is difficult to determine; the government’s Ministry of Health cannot afford to provide enough HIV testing kits to determine this information.

We are currently seeing between 200 and 300 AIDS patients each year (out of an average of about 30,000 individual patients seen annually). We do have enough testing kits so that you may test any patient that you suspect of having AIDS.

Ghana Temporary Medical License

If you are a doctor or dentist volunteering to work at BMC for the first time you must fill out a pre-registration form, pay a $600 fee, and submit certain documents and references to the Medical Dental Council of Ghana to attain a temporary license to be able to work (practice) while you are here in the country. Residents and medical students do not need a license as they practice as students under our physicians’ permanent Ghanaian medical licenses.

IMPORTANT: The Ghana Medical Dental Council does not recognize D.O. Diplomas, and will not issue a D.O. a license, regardless of their residency attended.

It is critical that you contact us (volunteers@baptistmedicalcenter.org) about the licensing process & fees ($600+). They would like to have this with all accompanying documents in our hands three months ahead of your planned arrival. We have a medical liaison at the Ghana Baptist Convention that assists us in having these licenses processed.