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CFHI Ghana: Pre-Med Rotations and Child Health | Ghana

Child welfare clinic

More photos of this internship may be found here

Interns with Child and Family Health International (CFHI) in Ghana complete rotations in a variety of clinical and community care facilities. Applicants spend five weeks in Accra and five weeks in Cape Coast. In Accra, interns will spend their time primarily doing rotations in a historic children’s hospital. This portion of the program focuses on pediatrics and child health. Interns will explore the social determinants that impact the Ghanaian healthcare system and contribute to the burden of disease. In Cape Coast students will have rotations at the large regional hospital. There will be opportunities to visit small community health centers and explore local public health initiatives.  In this program, students will learn about endemic diseases, such as tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid fever, and HIV/AIDS, and gain an understanding of the challenges local professionals face in providing care. This is a great opportunity for students interested in pre-med, pre-nursing, pre-pharmacy, and public health.

Duration of Internship:

  • 10 weeks

Founded in 1992 by Dr. Evaleen Jones, Child Family Health International offers educational and community health programs at 20+ sites in 11 countries. To date, their programs have 7000+ alumni from 35 countries.

Many participants in the programs are medical students who spend 4 weeks on rotations. The joint program with IE3 allows for 10 weeks of rotations for pre-med, pre-nursing, and public health students.

In the words of CFHI Executive Director Dr. Jessica Evert:

"...CFHI provides [individuals] with opportunities to learn about global health while imbedded in existing health systems and social services sectors alongside local community members and champions. The context is so important in order to impart a broad-based understanding of the interplays between disease processes, social circumstances, poverty, resiliency, geopolitical realities, historical contexts, culture, and the complexities of health and wellness. CFHI utilizes an asset-based engagement model, empowering local communities to own the educational narrative in order to transform the minds and hearts of young people so they are positioned to be the partners (both internationally and locally) that are necessary to achieve health equity and social justice. CFHI's expertise is in preserving the authenticity of the community's expertise and presenting 'real-life'

global health, while nesting programs in gold-standard educational pedagogies and safety standards..."

Ghana, located in West Africa, has a long and rich cultural history and is considered one of the most stable and democratic countries in Africa. With strong political and economic systems, vibrant cities, and friendly people, Ghana is the perfect gateway for a colorful, cultural experience in Africa.


For the first 5 weeks, you will join local medical professionals in the historic Princess Marie Louise Children’s Hospital in Ghana’s capital, Accra. This experience will allow you to see up-close how these professionals provide care in a resource-poor environment. Witness firsthand how social and economic conditions continue to impact the health of children, with malaria, anemia, and malnutrition the leading contributors to childhood morbidity in Ghana.

Cape Coast

For the last 5 weeks, students will be based in the historical coastal city of Cape Coast, famous for its tropical beaches and historic sites, including a string of coastal slave trade forts and castles dating back to the 17th century. You will rotate at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital-a general hospital serving as the main referral hospital for the whole coastal region. Learn and work alongside medical professionals, in various departments of the hospital. You will have the opportunity to visit clinics, outpatient departments, and areas such as the Emergency services. Attend the clinical and mortality meetings; be involved in the management of cases on the ward, general ward rounds, clinical case discussions, and various other activities in the different departments. Students will experience healthcare at the tertiary level and understand how the dynamic Ghanaian health system works overall.
During this program you will learn about endemic diseases, such as tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid fever, and HIV/AIDS, and gain an understanding of the challenges local professionals face in providing care. Through additional visits to small community health centers in the coastal region, participants will learn about local public health initiatives that provide sex education and family planning services.

NOTE: Rotation availability depends on local conditions. All rotations are subject to change depending on local availability and general Ghanaian holidays. Local coordinators will try and make alternate arrangements if a particular activity or facility is not available during the program month. Restrictions may apply for pre-clinical, and pre-medical students.

CFHI programs are not episodic volunteer experiences, and are not designed to provide service to those who would otherwise not have healthcare. The learning objectives for interns with CFHI are:

  • Develop a larger sense of cultural competency
  • Observe and develop existing clinical skills
  • Broaden public health knowledge
  • Develop creativity in problem-solving
  • Deepen their commitment to service
  • Promote medical supply conservation

Academic Background

  • Pre-Med, Pre-Nursing, Pre-Pharmacy, Public Health, and other Pre-health courses


  • Prior experience in health care settings preferred

Language Requirements

  • English

Other Requirements

  • Interns should be at least 20 years old to participate

Estimated One-Time Expenses

  • IE3 Program Fee: $3,450
  • Host Site Fees: $7,050
  • International Travel: $1,700
  • Recommended Immunizations: $400*
  • Visa: $60

* Fees vary based on medical history and insurance coverage

Estimated Monthly Expenses

  • Housing:
    • Covered in Host Site Fee
  • Food: $150
  • Local Transportation: $100
  • Utilities, Phone, Internet: $300

*Fee amounts are calculated with an exchange rate from LOCAL CURRENCY at the time of posting.

Additional Expense Information

Host Site Fee Details:

The host site fee from CFHI includes:

  • Airport pick-up upon arrival and transportation with a local representative to your program lodging
  • Welcome orientation 1-2 days after arrival covering safety, transportation, and other logistics
  • Local Team that provides instruction, logistical support, and 24/7 emergency response
  • Meetings and lectures on local healthcare system, socio-economic determinants of health and current cultural/historical topics.
  • Placement and coordination of clinical and any public health activities (if relevant)
  • Accommodation and two meals per day
  • Local cell phone or support obtaining a local SIM card

Host/Partner Housing

Program participants will find their home away from home in a comfortable guest house, screened by Local Coordinators in Accra and Cape Coast that follow health and safety guidelines. The guest house in Accra is located in a residential neighborhood of Mamprobi, Accra, 15-20 minutes from the clinical partner site. For added comfort and support, the local coordinator resides on-site. In some cases, interns share the house and/or a room with fellow program participants.

Going beyond mere lodging, staying in a local house provides a unique opportunity to learn about the local culture. Accommodations include two meals per day. At the welcome orientation, participants will be instructed on culture and work etiquette to have the best experience in both the home and the health settings.

Independent Housing

Interns may arrange their own housing if they do not choose host/partner housing.

“Looking back on my work here, I am particularly thankful to have experienced the daily life of a Doctor. It has allowed me to see and understand the great challenges of this profession. I have learned that being a healthcare provider is far from glamorous; it is physically and emotionally draining and brutally challenging…The greatest professional accomplishment I met on this journey was gaining the confidence and composure to insert myself into any situation. As a young white female, I felt challenged at the hospital to gain the attention and respect of the staff. There were so many times that I knew absolutely no one, had no idea what to do, or where to go. I challenged myself to embrace these moments of uncertainty by introducing myself to anyone who would listen, asking questions, and remaining present as I shadowed each day. During my first week I had a Doctor praise me for being “sharp” – and every day following I would make it my goal to stay sharp, focused, and attentive…This experience has been nothing short of a personal, emotional, and physical journey. One of the most important things I have learned about myself throughout my time here is how eager I am to practice medicine…I began to acknowledge my own limitations, reminding myself that my purpose here is to gain cultural perspective and contextualize the realities of health care and public health delivery. I learned that it takes time and effort to truly connect and assimilate to a new culture…From this experience I have learned what it takes to operate seven thousand miles outside of my comfort zone. I have learned how to find courage in moments of complete doubt and remain composed in moments of fear. I learned the importance of showing interest, enthusiasm, drive, and respect, all while remaining humble and patient…Living and working in a completely new environment allowed me to learn first-hand about the complexities and tragedies surrounding health and access to healthcare. I have gained a great deal of cultural competency and an even greater awareness of my own privilege. I am forever grateful for this life-changing journey and have every intention of continuing my passion for global health…This internship solidified my career choice of a Physician Assistant.”

-Bailey Wilson, University of Washington

Read more about Bailey’s experience on her blog: https://ghanagirlblog.wordpress.com/


“My time interning with CFHI Ghana allowed me to expand my view of the world and my place in it, while honing my personal and career goals. This experience has provided me with the necessary tools to pursue my career in public health, and has already led to job offers in my field. Without this experience, my undergraduate education would have been lacking the necessary component of cross-cultural competency that has given me confidence in my education through real-world experience. Every day, I think about my time in Ghana and see new ways in which it informs my life in the United States.”

-Mara Rutherford, Oregon State University

Read more about Mara’s experience on her blog: Mara’s Ghana Way


Fall | Winter | Spring | Summer

Application Deadline

Summer: January 25
Fall: April 15
Winter: September 1
Spring: November 15

Basic Requirements

- Prior experience in health care settings preferred