Ghana Health Program - View Book - 2019 Edition

Outreach Global - creating opportunities for global engagement and contributions toward community development across the globe

The Outreach Global office facilitates and provides global education, training and development, short term internship and volunteering programs with foreign universities, governmental agencies, businesses, NGO’s, and other external agencies to advance the engagement of our faculty, staff and students work across the globe.

Elizabeth Essamuah-Quansah

"The goal is to promote health and wellness, good nutrition and eating habits among Sekondi citizens"

–Dr. Elizabeth Essamuah-Quansah

Outreach Global Annual Ghana Spring Break Free Health Clinic is a program designed to offer volunteer opportunities to AU school of nursing students, faculty, general student population, staff, and members of Alabama community. The program creates opportunities for participants to learn about the healthcare needs and systems of Ghana, West Africa. In addition, participants are expose to cultural, social, and educational perspectives of the African continent.

This year, Outreach Global in collaboration with School of Nursing "adopted" the Pediatric Unit at Effia-Nkwanta Regional hospital in Sekondi, Western Region. AU students, staff, faculty and volunteers screened several patients for common ailments such as hearing, sight, diabetes, glucose testing, vital signs, and general health examinations. With support from Effia-Nkwanta regional hospital physicians and pharmacists, patients were diagnosed, treated and prescribed medications that were offered free of charge. In addition, Outreach Global office and School of Nursing donated over 30 boxes of children books, medical supplies and stuffed animals to Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital in Sekondi.

Special thank you to Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Auburn and all our generous donors both on and off campus for making the annual healthcare program in Ghana successful.

Elizabeth Ivy Essamuah-Quansah, Ph.D., M.B.A.
116 O.D. Smith Hall
Auburn University, AL 36849

Two Auburn professors and one UCC professor pose for photo together during Ghana Healthcare program.

Dr. Valarie Thomas (center), Associate Professor, and Mr. David Crumbly, Associate Professor, AU School of Nursing with Professor Rosemond Boohene (left), Dean of Center for International Education, University of Cape Coast.

Photo credit: Mr. Edward Thomas Jr., Opelika, AL

The subsequent panels contain testimonials from the following students:

  • Mac-Jane Crayton
    Graduate Assistant, Outreach Global office
  • Catherine Wilkerson
  • Hannah Bush
  • Joshua Gooch
  • Cara Borowski
  • Stephen Warren Hill
    4th Semester Nursing Student
  • Kendall Weber
  • Katie Valentine

Mac-Jane Crayton stands on beach in Ghana.

“This year’s healthcare program in Ghana gave me the opportunity to explore the gray area of my life called ‘The Comfort Zone.’ It brought me out of my nest and helped me conquer my fear of heights. I walked the 350m long and 40m high Kakum Canopy in Ghana! It was an exciting experience.

Volunteer hands out health supplies at clinic.

Also, going to Ghana as a graduate assistant for the office of Outreach Global added another level of value to my college experience. As I reflect on this trip, I realize that teamwork was vital to the success of the program. Each team member exhibited reliability, responsibility and positivity which made us work as a cohesive group. My time in Ghana was truly beneficial to my development as a graduate assistant and as a student who is interested in a career in academia. It modeled an example of how to implement a successful program with a diverse group.

It also helped me learn what to do to encourage team spirit and boost morale. These characteristics are lessons I intend to take with me as I progress in my career and in life. It is my hope that I can apply some of the lessons from that experience to future endeavors wherever I find myself.”

Mac-Jane Crayton
Ph.D Student | Public Administration & Public Policy, Auburn University
Graduate Assistant, Outreach Global Office

Two AU nursing students take Ghanian woman's blood pressure at clinic.

“To express this trip with only a few words would not do it justice. The 2019 Ghana trip had such an incredible impact on our hearts and minds. The residents of Ghana were so immediately welcoming, and they humbly offered 100% of their love to us. We laughed, cried, and danced (even when we didn’t know how). We were strangers in a new place, but felt so included in the close community.AU Nursing student, Catherine Wilkerson, poses for photo in front of lush greenery. It was an honor to be able to provide accessible health screenings to the people of Ghana. Our instructors did a wonderful job coordinating the trip. We had leisure days to experience the food, shopping, tropical beaches, dense forests, and powerful historical sites. We then had work days where we conducted free health clinics alongside our peers from University of Cape Coast Nursing School.

We served as many people as we could in a limited amount of time, but there is still so much work to be done. The work was challenging, and the environment and culture was drastically different from home, but the experience strengthened us as both nurses and individuals. Ghana changed my perspective of life and showed me the sincere meaning of love, family, friends, and happiness. I returned home feeling restless, desiring to do more international service in my nursing career. I am so thankful for Auburn University School of Nursing and Auburn University Outreach Global for making this trip a reality. I encourage every person in any career field to embark on a trip like this one: It is a guaranteed life-changer!”

Catherine Wilkerson
Senior Nursing Student

AU nursing student administers ear drops to patient at Ghana Healthcare clinic.

“The Outreach Global trip to Ghana was truly unlike anything I have experienced. The Ghanaian people are some of the most kind and generous people I have ever encountered. AU Nursing student, Hannah Bush, poses for photo in front of lush greenery.This experience has completely broadened my perspective of global healthcare as a whole. One of the most troubling things for me was the shear magnitude of health inequity. Seeing people suffer from illnesses that could be easily treated solely because they didn’t have the resources or access to health care was heart breaking. However, getting to play a small part in the beginning of someone’s health journey was truly an honor. This experience will be one that I cherish for the rest of my life.”

Hannah Bush
Senior Nursing Student

AU nursing student speaks with patients at Ghana Healthcare clinic.

“The 2019 Spring trip to Ghana was nothing short of inspiring. It was an amazing opportunity to see and learn about a new place, but also served to bolster friendships with my peers and to bolster my experiences as a nursing student. Ghana offered many experiences for us that included: visiting historical sites, eating different foods at many generous people’s homes, touring through the forest and a castle, and bartering in the marketplace. AU Nursing student, Joshua Gooch, poses for photo in front of lush greenery.All of these experiences gave us a sense of the culture that surrounded us and gave insight into how the people of Ghana lived their daily lives. The health clinics we participated in really showed us the true value of community nursing work and while it may not always seem very fun to think about at times, it is truly a gift to be able to impact so many people’s lives in such a short amount of time. Yes, sometimes things may have gotten a little hectic, but with teamwork and instructors who truly wanted us to have a good experience, everything flowed together very well for us and we were able to deliver healthcare to approximately 800 people. All in all, the trip was a success in every facet, from my point of view, and I encourage anybody who wants to have a unique experience and wants to build long lasting relationships and memories to go on the trip to Ghana.”

Joshua Gooch
Senior Nursing Student

AU nursing student looks at tape measurer when examining patient at Ghana Healthcare clinic.

“Spring Break has always been my least favorite break – I never felt like what I did served a purpose. It always seemed like wasted time. Ghana changed that.

AU Nursing student, Cara Borowski, poses for photo in front of lush greenery.

In the ten days we were there, I saw beauty I couldn’t imagine in both the scenery and the people, was given the opportunity to help those who couldn’t help themselves, and discovered a new meaning to the profession of nursing.

We were able to host a four-day free health clinic where we offered screenings for hearing, sight, urine, glucose, and general vital signs. We also had physicians and pharmacists on-hand to help diagnose and prescribe needed medications that the people of Ghana were allowed to take home free of charge.

Witnessing a woman get the prescription for glasses she never knew she needed, sharing the smile of a man who had walked six miles to see us, dancing with a mother when I told her that her child was healthy, and holding a sick infant in my arms while we rushed to get his fever down – these were all experiences I will never forget and would never have had if it weren’t for this trip.

The people of Ghana have my heart forever – their smiles were infectious and their joy a bottomless well. The friends I traveled with I can now call family, and the faculty that guided us are now both mentors and friends. I cannot recommend this trip enough! If you’re considering it – do it. It was the best Spring Break of my life, and it can be yours, too.”

Cara Borowski
Senior Nursing Student

AU nursing student looks at patient's ear at Ghana Healthcare clinic.

“Ghana was a very different, very eye-opening experience that I will never forget. Being born in the United States, it is easy to become accustomed to having everything you need at a 5 minute or less drive. It is simple to take for granted so many of the amazing things we have complete access to.AU Nursing student, Warren Stephen Hill, poses for photo in front of lush greenery. For example, state of the art healthcare. Taking this trip to Africa and seeing the different perspectives opened up a whole new view of life for me. Being able to provide basic healthcare to individuals who didn’t have access was very fulfilling and it made my heart truly happy. Every single person we treated had the biggest smile on their face and you could truly feel the appreciation radiating from them. I loved spending time with my fellow peers and professors and getting to know them better. It was very interesting to see how we all reacted to such a different culture than we are accustomed to. All of this said, I won’t lie and say it wasn’t challenging at times adjusting to the food, culture, weather, etc., but I will say that I truly enjoyed my experience. This was my first trip out of the country, and I am thankful and appreciative that it was. If you’re in any way interested in giving back and looking for a truly life changing experience, I highly recommend this experience.”

Warren "Stephen" Hill
4th Semester Nursing Student

AU nursing students examine patient at Ghana Healthcare clinic.

AU Nursing student, Kendall Webber, poses for photo in front of lush greenery.

“My experience in Ghana was much different than anything I have ever been a part of before. You never really realize how much you are blessed with until you visit a place that is deprived of the simplest things. Being able to provide the people of Africa a medical clinic that was free of charge was such a rewarding experience. The smiles on the people’s faces once we could treat them was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Outside of the four days where we provided the clinic, we could do other things in the different villages. We had the privilege of traveling to so many places and to the most beautiful hotels. We even got to go on a hike in the jungle where we walked between the tree tops on rope bridges. Going to Ghana was the experience of a lifetime, and leaving there knowing we changed so many lives was the best part. There was no other way I would’ve wanted to spend my last spring break as an Auburn student.”

Kendall Webber
Senior Nursing Student

AU nursing student holds two Ghanian toddlers during Ghana Healthcare clinic.

“Whether we were climbing 100 feet in the air on canopy bridges through Kakum National Park, watching a beautiful sunset over the Gulf of Guinea, negotiating the price of a painting in the depths of a market, touring the 500 year old Elmina Castle, dancing in a church while the choir rehearsed or seeing over 200 patients in one afternoon, this trip was unlike anything I had ever experienced.AU Nursing student, Katie Valentine, poses for photo in front of lush greenery. I have always had a heart for serving and I have always felt called to somehow help people who didn’t have easy access to healthcare and this trip confirmed that for me. As a fourth semester nursing student at Auburn, I wasn’t sure how much I actually knew or how much I would really be able to help. After 5 days of working in the excruciating heat and seeing over 800 patients, I became confident in applying what I had been learning for the past year to the health problems of the patients we saw. I was overjoyed that we got to serve so many in Sekondi, but I think the best part of the trip was getting to be with the people. I have never met such joyous, kindhearted, hardworking people who always had a smile on their face. Whether it was the mayor, a minister, or a professor everyone was so gracious to always have their doors wide open to feed us and give us a place to rest. We got to play with the school kids in the afternoons and I somehow managed to find a baby in my arms every chance I got. It was so humbling to see most of them live their lives with so few belongings but to delight and find so much joy in their beliefs and values. Our team from Auburn was incredible and I learned so much from getting to work alongside my professors, classmates, and the Outreach Global staff. This was an experience of a lifetime that I will always hold near to my heart!”

Katie Valentine
4th Semester Nursing Student

AU Nursing student, Ashley Westberry, poses for photo in front of lush greenery.A

"I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to return to Ghana, Africa this year with the nursing outreach program. Last year, I found what set my soul on fire. I discovered that nursing is a profession rooted in kindness and humility – a profession that transcends cultural and language barriers. In 2018, I found my passion; in 2019, I was honored to watch the nursing students around me find theirs.AU nursing student examines patient during Ghana Healthcare clinic. As an Auburn Nursing Alum, I tried to step back and allow the nursing students emerge themselves in the same experiences that we were granted the previous year. At the start of the trip, there were seven undergraduate students and one graduate student – distinctly different, unbeknown to each other, but all apart of the same Auburn family. After clinic days in Sekondi-Takoradi, we became one big nursing family. As I have found out in my first year out of school, the nursing profession has the unique ability of challenging you in ways you never thought possible. There are moments that will tear you down, make you cry, yet strengthen your desire to love on other people. This trip is the culmination of everything it means to be a nurse. I will forever cherish the memories made and the friendships developed due to the outreach trips to Ghana."

Ashley Westberry
AU Nursing Student Alum and current AU Grad Student

Last Updated: July 26, 2019