The health of human populations reflects the ecological and geographic environment. This program will introduce significant biological issues important in global health through planned cultural and ecological excursions in a low-income country. Site visits will include hospitals and clinics, research laboratories, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, and community development projects. Students from the partner institution, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, will also take part in the program. This course is ideally suited for students interested in careers in medicine, allied health fields, public health or environmental science.
Ghana is located in West Africa on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean. It is roughly the size of Oregon, with a population of 23 million people. A former British colony, Ghana was the first African nation to achieve independence from a colonial power, and it has had a stable democratically elected system of government since 1992. Many African languages are spoken in Ghana, but English is the official language of business and government.
Though endowed with a wealth of natural resources, Ghana remains a low-income country. The current government is committed to achieving middle-income status by 2020.
Africa is undergoing rapid urbanization, and the majority of time will be spent in and around Accra and Kumasi, the two largest cities. Students will also visit several biogeographic regions in southern Ghana, including areas of coastal plain, deciduous tropical rainforest, and savannah. There will also be a weekend excursion to northern Ghana, and a visit to one or more of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Cape Coast related to the transatlantic slave trade.
The accommodations will include a mix of university guesthouses and hotels. All rooms are self-contained, and have fan or air-conditioning, and will be double (or occasionally triple) occupancy. Outside of the major cities, accommodations will have fewer amenities. In Ghana, as in many developing countries, electrical, phone, and internet services are less reliable, and extended interruptions in service can occur. Breakfast will be included every day and there will be gree group lunches or dinners per week in addition. Participants are responsible for their own arrangements for the remaining meals. Restaurants will be available on site or nearby.