Lets go to Africa!
The objective of this post is to serve as a resource to those who are considering joining our team and heading to Ghana for the medical mission trip this October. I decided to compile a list of the most frequently asked questions I receive. I have added lots of pictures because you know the old saying a pictures worth a thousand words.....
#1. What is the operating environment like?
To be honest with you this was one of my questions as well. I didn’t want to go to a remote area provide substandard care, abandon a patient shortly after the surgery, and then fly out feeling like I had done “good”. I can assure you that this is not the case. We operate out of a local hospital with three operating rooms. The hospital has a recovery area as well as surgical wards for postoperative care. In several instances local surgeons will be in on your cases to assist and learn any new techniques that you might be using. In fact the relationships created with the local doctors was one of my favorite aspects of the trip. I learned a lot from them and came to greatly respect them. Postoperative care plans are left for each patient ensuring that their care continues long after you have left.
#2. What type of cases will we see?
Let me assure you that if you have a skill set and you can operate, then you will be an asset on this trip. Our goal would be to have as many different surgical subspecialties as possible. Currently we are actively recruiting: Anesthesialogists, CRNA, General surgeons, Urologists, OB/GYN, plastic surgeons, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, ophthalmologists, Head and Neck Surgeons, Orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, dentists, and all the associated support staff we can get our hands on. Once our surgical team is finalized we will advise the local team what pathology we will be ready and able to treat. Patients will be selected to match the different types of surgical specialists that we bring.
#3 Is it safe for my family?
Yes! I bring my family and they are always begging to go back. When I was doing my homework on this topic a dear friend of mine; who currently lives in Ghana, told my wife and I that Ghana was “Africa for beginners”. I would strongly encourage you to consider bringing your family along. While in the country all transportation and lodging are provided. You will always be with the big group. You are never left to figure things out on your own. The people of Ghana are so kind and this is a great and safe place for families.
#4 What will my family be doing while I am at the hospital operating?
Your family will get to experience the best of both worlds. They have the option to spend time with you at the hospital, as well as serve back at the Ghana make a difference home. While at the home they will sing and play with the children, paint houses, build chicken coups, make bricks, and so much more. Often times when I would come home from the OR late at night and ask my wife and kids how their day was I was jealous of the things they got to do that day. They will have the opportunity to visit the local village and hand out supplies, play soccer with the kids, help with school work, and so on and so forth. I promise it will be something they will never forget.
#5 What documentation do I need to get into the country?
From a medical standpoint we will just need a copy of your medical school diploma and a copy of a current license. You will also need a current passport and visa. In order to enter into the country your vaccinations will need to be up to date and proof of vaccination will be required for both you and your family. Your local health department will be your best resource. They may also prescribe you doxycycline for malaria prophylaxis.
#6 How much work will I miss?
The trip is scheduled to leave on a Friday afternoon and have you back by the following Sunday evening. We did this intentionally so you will only miss one full week of work. We understand that this is a sacrifice and we are so grateful that you are willing to make it.
#7 Do we just operate the entire trip?
At the end of the medical mission trip and prior to returning you to the states and your busy practices we have a few days or rest, relaxation, and site seeing.
#8 Do you need any other providers?
The short answer is yes. We are always looking for providers who are ready and willing to participate. Please forward this information on to whomever you think might be interested. We would also be willing to contact them personally as well.
#9. Do you need any supplies?
Again the short answer is yes. We are responsible for all of our supplies, medications, dressings, etc. We have a committee whose responsibility is to find and procure all needed supplies. If you have any connection to supplies, equipment, dressings, etc please let us know.
#10. Sounds great, but how much does this cost?
$1,600/ person plus airfare (Last year the total was about $3000 total/person)
The $1,600 includes everything while you are in Africa (transportation, lodging, food, admission to the locations on the tourist days). In Africa the only thing you will need money for is if you want to purchase souvenirs.
This list is by no means all-inclusive. If you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to reach out to our team to set up a time to learn more.
Click on the video below to a great recap of our last medical mission trip. I promise this experience will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Are you ready to go? Do you want to reserve a spot for you and your family? Visit www.ghanamakeadifference.org and reserve your spot.