Child Family Health International

Rating: 4.55 stars   110 reviews

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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(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

Dear JJ R, thank you for sharing this feedback with us. We are sorry to hear that the program did not match your expectations. We welcome opportunities to improve- we've been running international education programs for 23 years and we strive to provide the highest quality experience to participants. We take this feedback very seriously and have taken immediate and concrete steps to address the areas of concern that you brought to our attention. We are grateful to you for sharing this feedback, and we were also glad to be able to connect with you to address the specifics of your situation. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any further questions or concerns. Sincerely, Robin Young, Assistant Director- Africa and Asia, Child Family Health International. Email:

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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