Original Research

The views of key stakeholders in Zimbabwe on the introduction of postgraduate family medicine training: A qualitative study

Cherifa Sururu, Robert Mash
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 9, No 1 | a1469 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v9i1.1469 | © 2017 Cherifa Sururu, Robert Mash | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 April 2017 | Published: 12 September 2017

About the author(s)

Cherifa Sururu, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Robert Mash, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Strengthening primary health care (PHC) is a priority for all effective health systems, and family physicians are seen as a key member of the PHC team. Zimbabwe has joined a number of African countries that are seriously considering the introduction of postgraduate family medicine training. Implementation of training, however, has not yet happened.
Aim: To explore the views of key stakeholders on the introduction of postgraduate family medicine training.
Setting: Key academic, governmental and professional stakeholders in Zimbabwean health and higher education systems.
Method: Twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted with purposively selected key stakeholders. Data were recorded, transcribed and analysed using the framework method.
Results: Anticipated benefits: More effective functioning of PHC and district health services with reduced referrals, improved access to more comprehensive services and improved clinical outcomes. Opportunities: International trend towards family medicine training, government support, availability of a small group of local trainers, need to revise PHC policy. Anticipated barriers: Family medicine is unattractive as a career choice because it is largely unknown to newly qualified doctors and may not be recognised in private sector. There is concern that advocacy is mainly coming from the private sector. Threats: Economic conditions, poor remuneration, lack of funding for resources and new initiatives, resistance from other specialists in private sector.
Conclusion: Stakeholders anticipated significant benefits from the introduction of family medicine training and identified a number of opportunities that support this, but also recognised the existence of major barriers and threats to successful implementation.

Keywords

family physicians; primary health care; graduate medical education

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