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Child Family Health International

Rating: 4.58 stars   106 reviews 21,234

Nonprofit Issues:

Education, Health, International


995 Market St Ste 1104 San Francisco CA 94103 USA


Founded in 1992, Child Family Health International is a global family of committed professionals and students who work to strengthen communities at the grassroots level. We are united by a vision of advancing quality healthcare for all by creating global health education programs that are socially responsible and financially just. We are recognized by the United Nations.


-->Established in 1992 -->20+ sites in 7 countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, South Africa, Uganda) -->8,000+ volunteers have completed programs to date -->Supports & works with 250+ medical professionals around the world -->Donated over $10 million in medical supplies/equipment -->Offers professional development opportunities to global medical partners -->Academic Partners include UC Davis, Northwestern University, Northeastern University, etc. -->Awarded Special Consultative Status with the United Nations (ECOSOC) Economic and Social Council, July 2008

Target demographics:

Our students explore what health care and public health are like in developing countries while experiencing local culture and issues. Our program fees help support the local underserved communities where we work. We have enrolled 8,000+ students to date.

Direct beneficiaries per year:

700+ students and 250+ CFHI community partners (doctors and businesses, NGOs)

Geographic areas served:

Worldwide, with a focus on the US, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, South Africa, Uganda, and India.


GLOBAL HEALTH INTERNSHIPS : Experience global health through 4 to 16 week programs in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, Uganda & South Africa. Open to all with an interest in global health/medicine. INTERNATIONAL GRANTS: CFHI indirectly provides critical medical services to our partners abroad. Support CFHI's efforts in bringing village-based health care to underserved areas. HEALTH PROMOTER TRAINING: CFHI trains community-based health workers and teaches local members about preventive medicine and public health issues. Equipped with medicines and supplies physicians often see over 400 patients in a month.

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for Child Family Health International

Rating: 1 stars  

I have to be honest, I had a 'less than stellar experience' with CFHI. I am only writing this review to help others like me who are diligently researching programs like this and who want to get a firsthand review from someone who recently attended.

1) The program houses you in an area of Cape Town - 20-30 minutes from city center - in a neighborhood called Athlone. Ask anyone in Cape Town and they will tell you that, even for Cape Town, this is not a safe neighborhood. Feel free to look up crime statistics maps and you will see for yourself. 2) The driver that picks you up and drops you off is this older man who is unprofessional and grumpy. He gripes at you if you are even a minute late. Trust me, ask anyone who went about this.
3) Your home stay is a toss up. Unfortunately for me, my home stay left me to fend for myself for breakfast and lunch, while my other colleagues had their breakfast and lunch prepared each day for them.
4) I asked to be placed in a particular area of interest: HIV. This was never addressed, nor was I ever placed in an HIV clinic. I was put in an internal medicine inpatient ward of a hospital with about 10-15 other students, so there was next-to-no one-on-one teaching. You mainly walk around and observe.
5) When I addressed my concerns with the program administration in both Cape Town and their office in San Francisco, I was made to feel that my concerns were not valid. I found the staff to be unprofessional, apathetic, and unhelpful. The two ladies representing the program in Cape Town are nice and friendly, but they did little to address my concerns and feedback.
6) If you do not heed my advice and end up going on this, then at least spend the $400-$600 USD on renting a car. There is NOTHING to do in Athlone. No coffee shops or wifi, and your home stays generally do not have wifi. Do yourself the favor of renting a car.

So, to say I had a bad experience, is only the half of it. When you spend close to $3,000 on a program like CFHI, you expect a little more out of the experience. I was severely let down by the experience and the program's response to my experience.

Choose another program. Or, if you have the contacts, set up your own international rotation.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I was awarded a scholarship with CFHI to go abroad to Durban, South Africa, to participate in the HIV & Healthcare program. To put it simply, this was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I'm an MPH student studying global health and was considering pursuing medicine after graduation but was still undecided before starting the program. Not only did the program answer that question for me, but it gave me so much more. It was a truly life changing experience for me.

Though my time was relatively short, the program packs an immense load of clinical experience into just a few short weeks. It would have taken years and a much more advanced clinical background to be able to have these experiences in the U.S. and I think it would have taken a much longer time for me to make future career choices without this program. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity! And I really think I will return to South Africa in particular to work eventually, since my interest is in HIV. In terms of infectious disease, this program is also great for providing exposure to clinical conditions that are much more rare in the U.S. such as HIV and TB.

Durban was also such an incredible city! I was able to make such meaningful friendships with the other students in the program as well as my host family, and even some of the health care providers during rotation. I could not have chosen a better place to do this program.

Overall, I had an amazing experience and would recommend anyone considering a career in health care, an interest in global health or global service, or interest in HIV/TB to apply for this program. It is a very hands-on experience that provides great clinical exposure, and in one of the coolest places in the world :)

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

CFHI is an amazing organization that does an excellent job melding a learning experience with assisting global communities. I've been a part of many nonprofit organizations and CFHI is by far one of the most organized and thought provoking. As a volunteer in both South Africa and India, I felt well immersed and blended into the local communities.

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

CFHI India went above and beyond to provide me an amazing public health experience in Delhi. I learned far more than I anticipated, and I'm excited to apply this knowledge to my future career as a public health physician.

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Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This summer I participated in a health related program in Uganda. Through CFHI, I was matched with the KIHEFO general clinic in Kabale Uganda where I was able to shadow physicians in the general clinic. Along with this experience there was a public health component via outreaches in the villages in the Kabale district.

The people were amazingly warm and welcoming. Uganda is a very safe place to be and the program is very structured which is great for those who have never been abroad. There was cultural immersion as well and plenty of time for tourist activities like safari. Overall a great experience.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

In the Summer of 2013, I was selected to receive the International Enhancement Grant, from Indiana University’s Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, to finance the, Intensive Beginner Spanish Program sponsored by Child Family Health International (CHFI) in Quito, Ecuador. My experience was incredible!!! As a medical student, the program broadened my context of health care as it relates to the United States and developing countries. The Spanish classes provided by, “The Amazing Andes Spanish School,” especially those that focused on medically related Spanish, were effectively taught and engaging. These classes were particularly helpful when I volunteered at the community maternity hospital and family medicine clinics. With the help of the program, I had visited several historic sites, such as the Presidential Palace and Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus; and took excursions to Baños and Mindo

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Sometime in 2007, I was awarded a scholarship to participate in the Infectious disease program in India. This was my first experience, ever, in Global Health.

True, we did stay in some run down leprosy village for a part of the program and I stayed hungry alot of times because I wasn't vegetarian, those experiences were what put courage and resilience in me to go where people refused to go and do what people refused to do 4 years down the line.

Today, I am going on to study Global Health at one of the World's best university because CFHI launched me out on a path from which I have never looked back.

I implore prospective students not to get half way and quit (some people did), I ask you to brace up, laugh out loud and enjoy the ride. It might feel abit strange but you will gain perspective and Knowledge that far outweighs minor discomforts.

I wish you all the best and see you at the top!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I participated in the Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine program in La Pax, Bolivia this past June 2015, and it was an extremely beautiful and illuminating experience. My time spent working with doctors and nurses in varying specialties was invaluable in giving me a chance to learn more about the health care field, as well as about intercultural medicine. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone who wants more exposure to the medical field, or to those who aren't sure if this career is right for them. As for me, as a result of this program I have decided to continue along my path into medicine.

CFHI does a great job finding inspiring and intelligent doctors to shadow during our time at the program. Before I left, they were extremely helpful, accommodating, and answered all questions and concernsi I had about my trip. They also provide many resources to fundraise for the program. During the program itself, we are connected with a coordinator who lives in the country, in my case the kind and wonderful Gonzalo Claire. He was available for us whenever we needed him, and worked with us to give us each experience we desired. With his help I was able to shadow a doctor in a women and children's clinic that no other student had worked in before. Overall, I would recommend this program, and CFHI specifically, for anyone who desires to expose themselves to global medicine.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This organization is doing great work for many underserved communities through partnering on local projects with local leaders and students. I worked to bring new insights to program coordinators in charge of running a female sex worker program by providing a review of the published literature. Following my participation in their public health India program, I have become more culturally sensitive and been able to advocate on behalf of similar communities.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Program: CFHI Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 1 Month (July)
Price: Very reasonable (book/pay for your own flight)
Structure: Very well planned and connected with very skilled local coordinators/preceptors/doctors/locals/host families.
Experience: This solidified my aspirations to become a doctor. Full immersion into the world of doctors. The cultural aspect was beautifully balanced with the local sight seeing.
My rating: ∞ / 5

After a 35 hour grueling travel time, I arrive in the Cape Town Airport. I retrieve my luggage and dilly dally around to see if I can exchange currency in an oddly uncrowded airport. Near the exit, I see Mariam extremely worried but also relieved to see me. I know this was going to be a lovely experience when I see the care in the local coordinators and preceptors. I arrive at Aunty Carol and Uncle George's place (host mom and dad) and immediately I can tell that CFHI only finds the best and safest host families to house their volunteers. Later on, this was further confirmed when I notice an increased amount of food left for me (when I'm unable to make it home to dinner) only a few days after I got there - she notices I was a big eater! It truly feels like home. The living situation couldn't be any better. It is safe, fun, and warm.

Again very well timed and structured. Work during weekdays from 8-3pm roughly in the hospital and transportation to the hospital is also included. Weekends are on your own, including meals. The hospital life is the bomb! Even though this is a mid-sized teaching hospital, we were able to shadow doctors to our hearts' content, which is a DREAM for premeds. We learn a great number of things and are able to shadow great and passionate doctors. Every week we have meetings together with Marion and Avril to reflect on our time in hospitals; it paves a way to meld the group together and to further improve the program. I believe CFHI made a very smart move in including this as a method to improve the quality of the programs (which, in my opinion, is hard to do because it's already SO GOOD). In all, this is a very valuable experience for medical related students because you work very intimately with doctors and you learn immense amount of knowledge along local students and international students. The staff and doctors were extremely friendly and everybody acted as if the hospital is a house for a big family. Volunteering in GF Jooste teaches humility, passion, culture, knowledge about inequality, and so much more!

I can personally vouch for CFHI's Cape Town program, since I have been there. In all the conversations and communications I've had with CFHI, they've been highly helpful and kind. With the art of extrapolation, I can venture to say that all their programs are worth exploring. CFHI not only opened my eyes to medicine in general, it also showed me first hand how real health disparities in the world is. I can confidently say that CFHI have made an immense mark in my life in pushing me towards global awareness and I am truly grateful for this opportunity!


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