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Health and Staying Healthy in Ghana


There is requirement that you are inoculated against Yellow Fever, and in theory you will have to show the certificate on entry, although no one asked to see it when I arrived.

Beyond this its a case of checking with a practice nurse at your GP's practice as to what you have had and what is currently recommend.

Yellow Fever injections are only given in a small number of places in each area, but your practice nurse can advise you where these are. You need to have this at least 10 days before you leave. You have to pay for this.

Beyond this if you haven't been to Africa before you are likely to need a couple of combined injections. In some practices you pay for this, in others its combined with and included in the cost of the private prescription for the malaria pills.

Malaria Pills

On top of the injections you will need to consider the malaria protection pills, there are a number of options that your practice nurse will explain to you. To get these you will need to have a private prescription, that you pay for, and then to pay for the pills.


You cannot drink the tap or untreated water in Ghana, although some village locals can. You have two choices bottled water or water that is in plastic like sachets. Bottled water is not expensive and the same as you would drink anywhere, sachets are far cheaper, and unless you put them into bottles need to be drunk once opened. The sachets also have a chemical taste which while not bad when you start to drink from them, builds up and has a strong aftertaste, I only tried them once. Hotels also often offer cooled water bottles and many hotel rooms have fridges that you can cool or freeze bottles of water. Bottled water can be obtained at eating places, hotels, and many petrol filing stations, which have the equivalent of a small supermarket, where it is cheaper.

As its hot you need far more water than at home. While visiting some attractions you will also want to carry water with you so get some small as well as large bottles.


Ideally you eat only hot food or food that you can remove the cover from i.e. bananas. Salad is served as a part of many meals and this should not be eaten as it will have been washed in local water. The food is good, portions large and very filling, so although in the UK I would rarely leave anything, I would say that in at least half the cases in Ghana I did not eat all that was on the plate.

With exceptions you cannot rely on where you are, or how much you are paying, after all problems on expensive cruise ships are common. The problem to a degree is that we have been brought up with hygiene conditions that means our systems cannot cope with the hygiene regimes of some other people. You will come across people who have had a lot of 'tummy' problems in many countries, and while spending a fortune and also back packers eating cheaply just about anywhere who having stuck to a few simple rules and who have never had any problems. It is said that around 50% of tourists to Ghana suffer from diarrhoea, and this is because they do not stick to the food advice above or drink tap water.

If you have a guide with you they will advise you on what you can and cannot safely eat and drink, and then you are not likely to come down with diarrhoea. It may be wise however as a precaution to take with you both some Imodium and and rehydration sachets, although you should not need them. A spare roll of toilet tissue in your case may also be wise.

Health Insurance

Yes you need it. I don't like insurance, and would expect to have a problem getting a payout if I needed one, have read all the policy details and disclosed everything. I think I would have to be in a pretty bad way before I would rely on it, I'd rather get back home and then deal with just about anything, but then again, you never know and without it ........ 

On the main Photographers Resource website you will find an article on Travel Insurance as well as a list of UK companies that provide it, within the Reference Section under Insurance.


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