Original Research

Research activity, facilitators and barriers amongst trainee and early-career family physicians in sub-Saharan Africa: A cross-sectional survey

Pius o. Ameh, Chelsea M. McGuire, Alexandra van Waes, Bolatito B. Fatusin, Lara S. MacIntyre, Faith Lelei-Mailu, Hithaishini Kodicherla, Maame A. Egyirwa Buadu, Musa Dankyau, Kenneth Yakubu
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 14, No 1 | a3367 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v14i1.3367 | © 2022 Pius O. Ameh, Chelsea M. McGuire, Alexandra van Waes, Bolatito B. Fatusin, Lara S. MacIntyre, Faith Lelei-Mailu, Hithaishini Kodicherla, Maame A. Egyirwa Buadu, Musa Dankyau, Kenneth Yakubu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 November 2021 | Published: 30 June 2022

About the author(s)

Pius o. Ameh, Department of Family Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, Nigeria
Chelsea M. McGuire, Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America; and, Family Medicine Specialty Training Programme, School of Medicine, Lesotho-Boston Health Alliance, Leribe, Lesotho
Alexandra van Waes, Department of Health Sciences, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
Bolatito B. Fatusin, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Gusau, Nigeria
Lara S. MacIntyre, Department of Arts and Sciences, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
Faith Lelei-Mailu, Quality Health and Safety/Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, AIC Kijabe Hospital, Kiambu County, Kijabe, Kenya
Hithaishini Kodicherla, School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
Maame A. Egyirwa Buadu, School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
Musa Dankyau, Department of Family Medicine, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Bingham University and Bingham University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Nigeria
Kenneth Yakubu, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Jos, Jos, Nigeria; and, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; and, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine, The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, Australia


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Abstract

Background: Primary health care systems in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) need context-specific evidence to address current challenges. Increased family physician (FP) research activity could help fill this gap.

Aim: To describe the research activity, facilitators and barriers amongst AfriWon Renaissance members.

Setting: An online programme was designed to improve research activity amongst members of AfriWon Renaissance, an organisation of early-career and trainee FPs in SSA. This article provides a baseline description of their research activity.

Methods: All AfriWon Renaissance members were invited to participate in an online survey. A content-validated study tool assessed research activity, including participation in research meetings, engagement in research mentorship, number of projects and published articles. Facilitators and barriers were assessed via Likert scales and two open-ended questions. The researchers conducted descriptive statistics using Epi Info 7, a content analysis of open-ended responses and triangulation.

Results: Amongst the 77 respondents, 49 (63.6%) were still in training. Over two-thirds (71.4%) had participated in a research discussion in the past month. Whilst more than half (63.5%) reported having a manuscript under development, only 26 (33.8%) reported a recent publication. Nearly all (94.8%) intend to continue research in their FP careers. The most common facilitators were the institutional requirement to conduct research and having supportive peers and mentors. The most predominant barriers were time constraints and a lack of training on analysis.

Conclusion: There is a cohort of committed young FP researchers who would benefit from efforts to address identified barriers and support for their ongoing research activity, in order to increase primary care research outputs in SSA.


Keywords

research activity; research facilitators; research barriers; health research capacity strengthening; sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)

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