Varying Rural Villages, Ghana Program Details

Program Overview

Unite For Sight Global Impact Fellows work with Ghanaian ophthalmologist Dr. Thomas Baah and his clinic called Save The Nation's Sight Clinic.  Dr Baah's clinic is a model program to provide eye care for patients living in rural locations without access to ophthalmologists. Dr. Baah, a team of Ghanaian ophthalmic nurses and Ghanaian students and health professionals, along with Unite For Sight Global Impact Fellows, are stationed in rural locations for 3-4 week periods to provide outreach programs in remote rural villages. In the villages, patients receive an examination, diagnosis, eyeglasses, medication, and treatment. Patients requiring ophthalmic care and surgery are transported from the villages to Dr. Baah at the district hospital.

In addition to bringing eye care to rural locations throughout Ghana, Dr. Baah also maintains Save The Nation's Sight Clinic headquarters in Accra. At certain times of the year, Dr. Baah, his ophthalmic team, and Unite For Sight Global Impact Fellows are stationed in Accra and travel daily into rural villages located approximately 1.5 hours away from Accra. Patients receive exams, diagnosis, medication, eyeglasses, and other treatment from the Dr. Baah's ophthalmic staff. The patients needing surgery are transported back to Save The Nation's Sight Clinic in Accra, where Dr. Baah provides surgery and other advanced ophthalmic care.

This program is called "Varying Rural Villages" because Dr. Baah, his ophthalmic team, and Unite For Sight Global Impact Fellows are stationed throughout the year in different locations for 3-4 weeks at a time.

Educational Opportunities

This program provides an extensive and immersive global health experience, and Global Impact Fellows learn about the complexities and realities of global health and social entrepreneurship from the Unite For Sight program as well as from Dr. Baah. Additionally, as an ophthalmologist who grew up in extreme poverty, Dr. Baah has extensive knowledge about global health that he shares with Global Impact Fellows.

Additionally, for those with a special interest in medicine, ophthalmology, or optometry, Dr. Baah and the ophthalmic nurses provide opportunities to learn ophthalmic and optometric skills. Global Impact Fellows have an opportunity to observe cataract and pterygium surgeries provided at the eye clinic.

Who Can Be A Global Impact Fellow in The Varying Rural Villages Program

This program is suitable to anyone 18 years and older who has an interest in international service, global health, and social entrepreneurship. Volunteers range from gap year students, undergraduate students, and medical students to public health students, public health professionals, nurses, educators, opticians, optometrists, ophthalmology residents, ophthalmologists, filmmakers, photographers, and others.

What Global Impact Fellows Do

Standard Global Impact Fellows

Fellows assist the ophthalmic nurses in all aspects of the eye care programs. They take patient history, test visual acuity, assist the ophthalmic nurse with the examination, distribute medication and eyeglasses prescribed by the ophthalmic nurses, and help with the coordination of patient surgeries. Global Impact Fellows also observe Dr. Baah's surgeries in the operating theatre at the eye clinic.

Eye Care Professional Volunteers

Emirates Airline Foundation has generously donated free airline tickets for optometrists and ophthalmologists to work with Unite For Sight's partner eye clinics in Ghana. Ophthalmologists participating for at least 1 week, and optometrists participating for at least 4 weeks, are eligible for the donated airline tickets. The donated airline tickets are limited and available on a first come, first serve basis to accepted applicants.

Ophthalmologists and ophthalmology residents have an opportunity to receive training from Dr. Baah in SICS. Ophthalmologist volunteers work daily with Dr. Baah to provide ophthalmic care and perform surgeries. Optometrists work with Dr. Baah's ophthalmic nurses to provide optometric care in rural villages.

Filmmaker and Photography Volunteers

Unite For Sight filmmaker and photographer volunteers document the voices of patients who receive sight-restoring eye care through Unite For Sight programs. The videos and photos promote awareness and information about global eye care needs and also demonstrate the commitment and dedication of Unite For Sight's local partner eye doctors who work tirelessly to provide eye care to those living in extreme poverty. The opportunity allows students, filmmakers, and photographers an opportunity to learn about development issues while making a significant impact.

Living and Lodging Expenses

Fellows lodge in a guest house or hotel in the rural village location where Dr. Baah is stationed for the 2-4 week period. Daily expenses are approximately $20-30/day, depending on the location within Ghana.

Upon arrival in Ghana, volunteers receive orientation and training in Accra and usually lodge for 1-2 days at the Telecentre Bed and Breakfast, which costs $20/day for double occupancy, or $30/day for single occupancy. Food expenses while in Accra are approximately $10/day. Volunteers then proceed to travel to their base location with Dr. Baah.

Special Section For Students: Academic Credit and Clinical Rotations

This program is suitable for undergraduate and public health students interested in pursuing an internship for academic credit, as well as for medical and optometry students interested in pursuing a clinical rotation for academic credit. You should consult your academic institution regarding how you can arrange this type of course credit. Unite For Sight will complete student performance evaluations required by a university so that a student can receive academic credit. We can also provide a letter for the university that confirms a student's planned participation in the Unite For Sight program, as well as details regarding the student's pre-departure online global health coursework and global health field participation. Please read the Academic Credit section of the Unite For Sight website.

Video Presentations, Films, and Narratives About Unite For Sight's Programs With Dr. Baah

6 Narratives By Dr. Baah's Alumni Volunteers

Unite For Sight in Ghana, including 15 minutes about Unite For Sight's work with Dr. Baah

 

Jackie Madison Speaks About Volunteering With Dr. Baah

 

Samantha Diamond Speaks About Volunteering With Dr. Baah

 

Ophthalmologist Aron Rose, MD, Speaks About Volunteering in Ghana

 

Unite For Sight Film About Ghana Outreach Programs

 

Unite For Sight Buduburam Refugee Camp Film

 

Patients Speak About Their Experiences With Restored Sight

 

Patient Speaks About His Newly Restored Sight

 

Dr. Baah Discusses Eye Care in Ghana

 

Ghanaian Ophthalmic Nurse Margaret Duah-Mensah On Eye Care Outreach In Ghana