Ankaase Methodist Hospital – Ghana
People coming to this rural hospital are usually impoverished, and suffer from malaria, malnutrition, pneumonia, tropical ulcers, typhoid fever, inguinal hernias, pregnancy complications, schistosomiasis, hypertension and anemia. HIV is also a constant concern. Ankaase Methodist Hospital provides innovative care that includes not only hospital services, but also a renutrition center for malnourished children, literacy classes, and care for persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Several American and European healthcare profession students and resident physicians come to Ankaase Hospital each year where they are mentored by Ghanaian national staff. Clinical responsibilities will normally include outpatient clinic, inpatient care, obstetrics, pediatrics, and surgery. Public health and HIV care opportunities are also available. Students are quite welcome and are provided constant supervision.
Location & Community
Ankaase is a town located near the city of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of central Ghana, West Africa – about 180 miles northeast of the nation’s capital, Accra. The town is in a rural farming community and has a local market with limited shopping. Many people from the dry, desolate north of Ghana have recently moved into this region. Christianity and Islam are both dominate.
Become familiar with Ghana’s culture, history and economy by reviewing the Wikipedia Ghana Profile. Rich resources for Ghana health information include the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation IHME Ghana Country Profile and the World Health Organization Global Health Observatory Ghana Data.
The hospital is located in Afigya Kwabre district, 23 km away from Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital. International travelers should fly into Accra, the capital. The Ghana Baptist Mission operates a guesthouse in Accra where travelers can spend the night at a nominal fee. An advanced reservation will be necessary. A representative from the hospital may be arranged to meet visitors at the international airport in Accra.
Travel to Ankaase may be via road or air. 45-minute flights run daily. The trip from Kumasi to Ankaase is usually less than one hour by car. Alternatively, the 180-mile bus trip from Accra to Kumasi provides a unique opportunity to see the country up close, but takes about six hours.
Please visit the Ghanaian embassy website appropriate for one’s nationality. Americans require a visa for entry into Ghana. The visa must be obtained in advance and cannot be granted at the airport. United States citizens may visit the Ghanaian embassy for visa application information: https://www.ghanaembassy.org. Application for a visa should be made at least two months in advance. Physicians must obtain a medical license to practice in Ghana, a process that this normally uncomplicated, but takes at least three months to complete.
Traveler’s Health & Safety
One should consult with their personal physician before traveling, and refer to the CDC Travel Website for the most up-to-date health information.
People coming to Ankaase Methodist Hospital are often impoverished. Some of the most common medical problems encountered are malaria, malnutrition, pneumonia, hepatitis B, tropical ulcers, typhoid fever, inguinal hernias, pregnancy complications, schistosomiasis, hypertension and anemia. Of Ghana’s 24 million residents, 2 percent are currently living with the HIV/AIDS virus, and 31 percent live below the official poverty line, with little access to any type of medical care.
English is the official language of Ghana. Health personnel will be able to work in English at times with translation available in Asante Twi, the local language spoken by most people.
Medical Care Services
Ankaase Methodist Hospital is a general district Hospital started in 1991 with assistance from the Methodist Church Ghana and The Mission Society. Today it provides medical care for the more than 10,000 residents in the surrounding towns and villages, with 53,000 consultations in 2015. The hospital capacity is 82 beds, with some 6,700 admissions and 900 surgical procedures annually. Hospital has a pharmacy, X-ray and ultrasound, laboratory with blood transfusion capability, and endoscopy capabilities. The hospital also offers obstetrics, general surgery, urology, HIV care and optometric service. An average of 150-200 outpatients are seen daily in the clinic. In addition, the hospital reaches out into the broader community through nutrition education, literacy classes, and care for persons living with HIV/AIDS.
HIV Care Services
This center provides Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) and protocol-driven Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT) prophylactic medication. Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) is available as indicated, and supported by on-site CD4 measurement capability.
Public Health Initiatives
Preventive healthcare at Ankaase Methodist Hospital is a high priority and guided by community health board. Staffed by community health workers, the public health unit provides immunizations, general health education, health screens for mothers and babies, and particular interventions against Buruli ulcer, malaria, hepatitis B, and HIV infection. The unit works in cooperation with sister organizations to augment the supply safe drinking water.
Students of public health serve under the direction of the community health workers in leadership and participate in the above interventions. In addition, this region of Ghana has in progress a number of Millennium Development Goal projects in which public health student may take part. Research opportunities are also available with guidance from Cameron Gongwer, MD, MPH – an American graduate of the University of Ghana School of Public Health.
An article about Ankaase Methodist Hospital can be viewed at https://themissionsociety.org/ordinary/ankaasehospital
Healthcare Profession Staff
Ankaase Methodist Hospital is lead by Marcus Ramseyer MD, medical director, and by Moses Berko, administrator. They are assisted by Ghanaian physicians, midwives, clinical officers, community health workers, and visiting consultants.
Several American and European healthcare profession students and resident physicians come to Ankaase Hospital each year where they are mentored by Ghanaian national staff. Clinical responsibilities will normally include outpatient clinic, inpatient care, obstetrics, pediatrics, and surgery. Public health and HIV care opportunities are also available. Students are quite welcome and are constantly provided supervision. Previous INMED Learners who served at this training site include these Graduates.
Student Lodging & Meals
Visiting medical personnel are accommodated in a hospital guesthouse at a nominal fee. The guesthouse has electricity and cold running water. Visitors usually purchase groceries in the nearby city of Kumasi and make their own meals at the guesthouse. A local cook can also be hired to prepare hot meals. Visitors should bring along any special foods and snacks.
Internet access is available via mobile phone modem. Modems and useage minutes can be purchased locally.
INMED invites all participants to consider raising extra funds to donate to support this facility. While such efforts are not required, they will provide opportunities INMED personnel to become involved in this important aspect of international healthcare.
Cape Coast, the region just west of the Ghanaian capital city Accra, has the best-known sites of interest. Here are located forts and castles, including Fort Saint Jago and the Castle of Elmina, the first Portuguese settlement in Ghana. Kakum National Park is located nearby and offers ecotourism and abundant wildlife that can be viewed at tree canopy level from the 333m tree top walkway.
Behavior & Dress
Clothing for hospital and public health work is similar to that worn in the North America. Modesty is the principle. Men can wear casual trousers and cotton short-sleeved shirts. No shorts or T-shirts. Women can wear long skirts and slacks. Shoulders should be covers. Short pants and jeans should be avoided. The hospital provides surgical scrubs.
What To Pack
Visitors should bring copies of any healthcare profession licenses, diplomas, or certifications. It is recommended to also pack a carry-on bag that has essentials items just in case one’s luggage becomes lost.
Travelers are advised to pack a carry on bag that contains one’s essentials just in case luggage becomes lost. Also, it is usually best to bring two suit cases, each half full, in order to have a place to pack souvenirs for the return trip. Previous INMED students recommend: Pharmacopia book, Stanford antibiotic guide, Granola bars, water bottle, small back pack, peanut butter, skirts and blouses, sandals, flashlight and batteries, BP cuff, wrist watch, old running shoes, books for entertainment, writing paper, bug spray, film, a good digital camera, battery powered alarm clock, sunscreen, transistor radio, hat, and gifts to give the national hospital staff, such as T-shirts.