Conference Report

Exploring gaps, strategies and solutions for primary care research mentorship in the African context: A workshop report

Chelsea M. McGuire, Kenneth Yakubu, Nana K. Ayisi-Boateng, Keneilwe Motlhatlhedi, Pius Ameh, Bola B. Fatusin, Martha Makwero, Louis S. Jenkins
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 12, No 1 | a2320 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v12i1.2320 | © 2020 Chelsea M. McGuire, Kenneth Yakubu, Nana K. Ayisi-Boateng, Keneilwe Motlhatlhedi, Pius Ameh, Bola B. Fatusin, Martha Makwero, Louis S. Jenkins | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 December 2019 | Published: 25 May 2020

About the author(s)

Chelsea M. McGuire, Family Medicine Speciality Training Program, Lesotho-Boston Health Alliance, Leribe, Lesotho; and, Department of Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, United States, United States
Kenneth Yakubu, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; and, The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, Australia; and, Department of Family Medicine, University of Jos and Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Nigeria
Nana K. Ayisi-Boateng, School of Medicine and Dentistry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Keneilwe Motlhatlhedi, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana
Pius Ameh, Department of Family Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, Nigeria
Bola B. Fatusin, Consultant Family Physician and Academic Coordinator, Family Medicine Department, Federal Medical Centre, Gusau, Nigeria
Martha Makwero, Department of Family Medicine, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Malawi, Blantyre, Malawi
Louis S. Jenkins, Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa ; and, Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, George Hospital, Western Cape Department of Health, George, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Primary care needs research to generate evidence relevant to community needs; however, there is a lack of research engagement among primary care physicians, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Improved research mentorship for family physicians (FPs) can help address prevailing knowledge and practice gaps in primary care research.

Workshop process: During the 6th annual Africa Regional Conference of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA), we conducted three workshops on research mentorship for African FPs. Two workshops (one online and one onsite at the pre-conference) were geared towards the young doctors’ movement of WONCA Africa. The third was onsite during the main conference. Following a brief presentation on the concept of research mentorship and known gaps, participants broke into small groups and discussed additional gaps, solutions and anticipated readiness for implementing these solutions. We used a content analysis to summarise key concepts and had participants to review the findings.

Workshop findings: Identified gaps related to mentees’ difficulty initiating and maintaining mentorship relationships and an overall shortage of capable and willing mentors. Organisational solutions focused on capacity building and creating a culture of mentorship. Interpersonal solutions focused on reducing the power distance and increasing reflectivity and feedback. Increasing the use of research networks and both peer and online mentorship were advocated. Barriers to readiness included resource constraints and competing priorities.

Conclusion: A multi-level approach is needed to address the gaps in research mentorship for African FPs. Identified solutions hold potential for supporting the research engagement needed to improve the population health across Africa.


Keywords

research; mentorship; primary care; general practice; family medicine; sub-Saharan Africa; workshop report

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