I've volunteered through other programs and this is probably one of the best.
I was originally set to volunteer as a Health Outreach and Education Worker in April, but my plans were delayed because of COVID-19. Thankfully, I was able to go as soon as Ghana re-opened, and I'm so glad that I did. I was the only volunteer because of the current situation, but I don't regret a minute of it.
Edward, the Founder of Volunteer Corps, IVHQ's in country partner, as well as the rest of the team, made sure that I was taken care of and followed safety measures due to COVID-19. There was no reason for me to fear or be nervous.
I was already in country and Benedict, a Program Manager, made sure that my transportation to the volunteer house in Accra was in place. When I arrived at the volunteer house, I was warmly greeted by the team there.
The next day, I had orientation (language, customs, health outreach/education program overview, discussion about excursions) and commuted with the Purple Program team to the Eastern Region, about 3 hours away from Accra, and stayed in the village of Frankadua which was the central location to the villages where work took place.
The volunteer house was clean and I felt safe because of the security guard. The food was great and Mary, the chef, can make food based on your diet. The team went above and beyond to make sure that I was taken care of. When I arrived, I was even greeted by respected community members
The night before volunteering, Joe, the Purple Team Manager, led the team meeting where we discussed more details about the work that I would be doing. Because I was the only volunteer due to COVID, I was asked to do blood pressure screenings (I brought my own monitor), teach on health topics based on my knowledge, conduct malaria tests, and provide first aid (I do have American Red Cross First Aid training, but it is not a must if you are not comfortable). The malaria tests are easy to perform especially if you already have lab experience. It is advisable to bring at least 3 - 4 boxes of your own gloves. So many people would show up (at least 75 per village) to learn and receive testing and care that the staff stepped up to assist in reading malaria test results, educate about malaria treatment, conduct blood pressure screenings, and assist with the flow of the day. They constantly made sure that I had everything I needed, inquired if I needed to take a break, and made sure that my overall health and wellbeing were taken care of.
During my time in the Eastern Region, I was able to provide health outreach in different villages near the volunteer house in Frankadua. The other villages are about a 20 minute ride from the volunteer house.
The team is organized, worked well together, and made me feel like family. There's so much that a volunteer can do. Overall, I was also able to teach about hygiene at a secondary school, teach a community about COVID-19, conduct over 200 malaria tests where treatment was provided (the tests and medication are covered in the program fee), conduct blood pressure screenings and education, and provide first aid care to people who aren't able to access a clinic.
Safety measures were taken because of COVID-19 like wearing face masks, using hand sanitizer, and sanitizing equipment (tables, chairs, etc.).
The need for volunteers is great and there's so much work to do. I will return again.