Ghana: migrant health guide

Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients from Ghana for healthcare practitioners.

Main messages

If the patient is new to the UK:

Screen all new entrants, including children, for tuberculosis (TB).

Offer and recommend an HIV test to all adults, and consider offering an HIV test to infants and children who have recently arrived in the UK.

Offer to all sexually active individuals:

  • a full sexual health screen
  • safer sex health promotion advice

Due to a high prevalence, consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly among those who have recently arrived.

There is a high risk of malaria in some areas.

The prevalence of HTLV is high.

There is a high risk of typhoid infection.

Infectious diseases


Ensure that all patients, especially children, are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule. See Immunisation collection with complete schedules.

Tuberculosis (TB)

There is a high incidence of TB in Ghana (40 to 499 cases per 100,000), so:

  • screen all new entrants (including children) for TB according to NICE guidelines
  • refer to TB services promptly if screening is positive
  • maintain long term vigilance for symptoms of TB even if initial screening is negative
  • be aware that TB is a notifiable disease

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV

There is a high rate of HIV in Ghana (>1%), so:

Although recent global data on STIs are not available, countries with high HIV rates tend to have higher rates of STIs, and the range of STIs encountered may vary from those in the UK, so offer to sexually active individuals:

  • a full sexual health screen
  • safer sex health promotion advice by referral to local genito-urinary medicine services.


The prevalence of Human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) is high. Refer to further HTLV guidance about testing and treatment.

Hepatitis B

Ghana has a high prevalence of hepatitis B, so:

  • consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly those who have recently arrived
  • offer screening for hepatitis B to all pregnant women during each pregnancy
  • immunise appropriately babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B positive, and follow-up accordingly
  • be aware that the UK has a universal infant immunisation programme for hepatitis B and a selective immunisation programme for higher risk groups

Hepatitis C

Ghana has a higher prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK, so consider screening for hepatitis C if other risk factors apply.


There is a high risk of malaria in Ghana, mainly due to P. falciparum, so:


There is a high risk of typhoid infection, so:

  • ensure that travellers are offered typhoid immunisation and advice on prevention of enteric fever
  • remember enteric fever in the differential diagnosis of illness in patients with a recent history of travel to or from


There is a risk of soil transmitted helminth infections.

Travel plans and advice

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin. People who travel to visit friends and relatives (VFR travellers) should visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for overseas travel advice and National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) for country specific travel advice prior to leaving the UK.

Nutritional and metabolic concerns


There is a high risk of anaemia in people from Ghana (estimated prevalence in non-pregnant women is >40%) and pre-school children (estimated prevalence is >40%), so:

  • be alert to the possibility of anaemia in recently arrived migrants, particularly women and pre-school children
  • test as clinically indicated

Vitamin D

Consider the possibility of vitamin D deficiency in people who may be at risk due to:

  • darker skin
  • those who are not often outdoors
  • those who cover up most of their skin when outdoors

Vitamin A

There may be a risk of vitamin A deficiency.

Women’s health

Reproductive health indicators

Reproductive health indicator UK Ghana
Number of children per woman¹ 1.7 3.8
Use of contraception² 71.7% 30.8%

¹lifetime average; ²by woman of reproductive age or partner;

Female genital mutilation

Healthcare practitioners are advised that FGM has regularly been documented in Ghana.

Country profile

Health indicators and health care

The World Health Organization Global Health Observatory has a summary of health indicators and health care in Ghana.

Culture, politics and history

BBC News and The World Factbook provide background information on the culture, politics and history of Ghana.


English is the official language.

Language Population (%)
Asante 16
Ewe 14
Fante 11.6
Boron (Brong) 4.9
Dagomba 4.4
Dangme 4.2
Dagarte (Dagaba) 3.9
Kokomba 3.5
Akyem 3.2
Ga 3.1
Other 31.2

Source: The World Factbook


Religion Population (%)¹
Christian 71.2
Muslim 17.6
Traditional 5.2
Other 0.8
None 5.2

¹includes Pentecostal/Charismatic 28.3%, Protestant 18.4%, Catholic 13.1%, other 11.4%.

Source: The World Factbook

Migration to the UK

At the time of the 2011 census there were almost 94,000 people from Ghana living in England and Wales.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 15 September 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated country guidance on prevalence of communicable diseases and other health topics.

  2. First published.