Experience By Previous Intern
My FEB Experience
I cannot thank FEB enough for the amazing 3 weeks I spent with them the summer 2015. While this wasn’t my first trip to Ghana, it was definitely the best! I met Dr. Baidoo, one of the founders of FEB, on my previous trip to Ghana in the summer of 2014 and we kept in touch, which led to my return in the summer to work with FEB. While in Ghana, I volunteered at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, which gave me the opportunity to shadow doctors and see how the hospital varies to those I have worked at in America. Through the hospital experience, I saw why FEB is so important in the community!
While working in the pediatric ward at the hospital, I saw so many malnourished children and children suffering from common illness that had become life threatening due to lack of preventive medical care. FEB conducts education outreach in the community that focus on malnourishment, cholera and diabetes to aid in reducing these problems! It saw many children die while I there because of something so easy to prevent like malnutrition or malaria. Working with the Foundation made me feel like I was making a long-term difference in the community instead of spending my 3 weeks there and leaving. In addition to the volunteer opportunities in the hospital, I assisted in planning for an upcoming diabetes presentation for 2,000 children at a local school. I also helped start the organic garden at the Foundation house that will be used to grow needed food for the community and supply the café opening in the near future. While the foundation is relatively new, it has so much potential! Our plans for the future are limitless and so is my time in Ghana. I have already booked tickets to return to Ghana in 6 months to work solely with this amazing organization.
Most people ask why this experience is different from the other hundreds of organizations in Ghana recruiting volunteers, and I have a long list of reasons why. As much as I enjoyed helping with the Foundation, I also wanted to learn more about the country, culture, and the people. FEB gave me that opportunity through outings on the weekends, spending time at local restaurants and bars, and made me feel so welcome! On my previous trip to Ghana, each day I was taken from my hotel to where I was working then back to the hotel, with little time to actually experience Ghana. This time around, I feel like I learned so much more and made many friends that I still keep in contact with in America. It is hard for me to put my experience into words because it was so amazing and there is no way I can describe it! I definitely made a second family in Ghana and cannot wait for my return. If I could suggest one thing, it would be to come to Ghana with FEB. Whether you are in a group or by yourself, book your tickets and I promise you will not regret it!
Shun Yonezaki JAPAN
My name is Shun Yonezaki, I’m a 4th-year medical student from Japan. I worked on FEB foundation to give free medical screening for 500 local people in Elmina. I was involved in planning and implementation of the project. We focused on screening of hepatitis B and diabetes. Those diseases are very serious, so prevention and screening are very important.
In his project, we cooperated with doctors, nurses, medical students, and other volunteers. To give free medical screening, we set up four tents which are for education, vital check, screening and consultation. In education, we educate people about basic information of disease, in vital check, we did vital check, in screening, we did screening of hepatitis B and diabetes, and in consultation, doctor gave medical consultation.
I was in charge of vital check with cooperation with nurses. I learnt how to do vital check but I didn’t have opportunity to do that, so it was very wonderful experience for me. I feel glad of my effort because I could contribute to this project by using my knowledge and skill.
A lot of people came to us to get free medical screening, and time interacting with them is very nice and valuable. I think that the experience here is very wonderful because I could feel I contribute to society and I learnt a lot from this experience. This experience inspired me to work with organization like WHO or UN in the future. I hope our project could contribute to reduction of hepatitis B and diabetes and the day when nobody suffer from preventable diseases.
Robin, Occupational Therapist - Silver Spring, MD USA
I would like to thank FEB foundation for being a part of my life changing experience in Cape Coast, Ghana. During my time in Cape Coast,I volunteered at Cape Coast Teaching Hospital where I was able to work alongside local physical therapist and assistants, doctors, nurses and supporting staff. I was able to immerse myself within the culture, as well as, gain a greater understanding about Ghana’s dynamic health care system. My time in Ghana was purposeful, meaningful and enriched my life in ways I cannot explain.
One of FEB foundations many missions is to provide healthcare assistance for the deprived and vulnerable persons. I was able to aid in this mission by participating in two projects during my stay. The first included donating medical supplies to the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital pediatric ward. The appreciation and gratitude from the hospital staff was apparent and the ability to meet the need of the children and families was fulfilled. Secondly, FEB foundation donated more than 200 toothbrush and toothpaste to kids at Samaan and discussed the importance of oral hygiene. I have to say my visit to Saaman and interacting with the children had to be one of my favorite memories from my trip to Ghana.
I loved how FEB foundation took me under their wings and exposed me to the country, culture and the Ghanaian people. We went on outings during the week/weekend, explored local landmarks and restaurants and bars. Special thank you to founder, Dr. Baidoo for being personable, caring and ensuring I was safe during my stay in Cape Coast. Working with FEB foundation was one of the best decisions I have made and I am looking forward to my return. Thank you FEB for all the great work you do within the Cape Coast community.
I spent a month with FEB Foundation. During my time in Cape Coast I worked in the teaching hospital, traveled around Ghana, and made lots of new friends. I truly enjoyed learning about the Ghanaian culture and way of life. This program did an excellent job of introducing us to the culture as a Ghanaian and not a tourist which I really appreciated.
FEB Foundation/ Staff:
Everyone that was a part of the FEB Foundation staff was very welcoming and easily approachable. I appreciated that there would people of different ages that we could approach. Some people are more comfortable with a parental figure, some a peer, and some a child. We had many options when we needed a problem resolved. Also, Augustine who was a main point of contact was always willing to help and excited to teach us. I also really enjoyed when the extra staff came in for the brigade mission. Everyone I spoke to was so willing to teach. It made the trip much more fun as well as very educational.
Public Health Outreach:
The brigade mission was by far my favorite event. It was so wonderful to interact with the people of Samaan. I was proud and honored to have been a part of the trip. We provided aide to a lot of people and I learned a lot along the way.
As a premed student, I knew I wanted to spend my summer traveling and gaining exposure in the medical field. I wanted to discover a new part of the world, as well as broaden my passion for volunteering, public health, and medicine. The FEB Foundation stands by bringing “health for the people,” acting as both an educational and humanitarian outlet for volunteers of all ages. As a volunteer with FEB for 2 months, I was submerged into Ghanaian culture and truly discovered the inequity of healthcare distribution throughout rural villages and towns.
The quality of the hospital internship experience was solely dependent on my personal motivation and ambition to acquaint physicians and nurses, as well as my alertness and direct attitude in asking questions.
I took the first step in introducing myself to the physicians and nurses at every department I shadowed in, and was welcomed with a mix of reactions from some physicians who were enthused to let me observe and assist, and some physicians who seemed less interested.
The most engaging departments for shadowing were Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Delivery Suite, and Pediatrics. I saw several vaginal deliveries, caesarian sections, and a hysterectomy. I spent many overnight shifts at CCTH where I had the opportunity to speak at length with many of the physicians, surrounding myself with a wealth of knowledge and seeing many more cases than I could during the daytime.
Overall, the hospital internship was a great opportunity to practice networking as well as see cases at a high volume, some cases not possible to see as a premed in the US.
The Samaan outreach was one of my favorite events during my stay in Cape Coast. Although taking a lot of preparatory work for FEB, setting up the brigade stations was swift and efficient. Seeing the flow of over 300 patients through the free clinic was emotional and empowering. I shadowed physicians, took vitals at the triage station, helped organize patient referrals, as well as help deliver appropriate medication to patients at the pharmacy station. The highlight of my day was taking vital signs for children 10 and under at a steady and high tempo pace for 2 hours.
The outreach to Twifo Praso also saw to the care of 100 patients, screening for Hepatitis B and testing blood type. I performed both the Hepatitis B and blood type tests on patients, guided by the knowledgeable technicians and nurses.
The outreach to the New Life International School and Orphanage was an incredible experience where I assisted along with the rest of the FEB team in teaching school-age children about Cholera and personal hygiene. We made the experience interactive, asking the kids questions and bringing up volunteers to help teach the rest of the students. The environment was caring, friendly, and positive, having a long-lasting impact that was incredibly rewarding.
Outreaches also aim to assist people in need and to diminish healthcare disparities. I was honored to be able to help in this amazing effort, and look forward to participating in future outreaches.
Mariquisha Matthews USA
My time spent in Ghana with FEB Foundation was great on so many levels. It was a fun and educational opportunity to get involved with a community that’s different from the one I grew up around. My favorite part about volunteering at Cape Coast hospital was the NICU. Helping to take care of those babies was one of the highlights of my entire trip. Although I will say that when you volunteer at the hospital, you have to be proactive in finding tasks to do because the nurses can be focused on their work and can forget you’re there. However, once you speak up about the types of work you would like to do, they will accommodate your wishes. The community outreach day in Saaman was also one of the highlights from my trip. We helped a lot of people that day that would have otherwise not have been able to receive healthcare or would have had to travel a long distance to receive any type of assistance. We even conducted home visits for the elderly population. It was an amazing opportunity to give without expecting anything in return.
I will say that the best aspect about Ghana is welcoming attitude of Ghanaians. I met friends that gave me a new outlook on politics, race relations, and other subjects. I continue to talk with the people I met in Ghana to this day. FEB staff also do an excellent job at making sure you’re comfortable and have everything you need. They also make sure to show you around and introduce you to a lot of the people in Cape Coast, so it’s easy to make friends.
Overall, I appreciate my trip to Ghana and working with the FEB Foundation. I was able to increase my awareness of the world, gain new friends, and have unforgettable experiences that I continue to talk about almost every day. I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about healthcare in a country different from their own and to anyone wanting to experience Ghana in a way that a typical tourist would not.