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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 11-15

Research in surgery and anesthesia: Challenges for post-graduate trainees in Uganda

1 Department of Surgery, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda
2 Department of Anesthesia, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda
3 Department of Anesthesiology, Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda
4 Department of Anesthesiology, University of Washington, Washington, United States
5 Department of Anesthesiology, University of California, San Francisco, United States
6 Department of Pediatric Surgery, Yale University, Connecticut, United States
7 Department of Anesthesia, University of California, San Francisco, United States

Correspondence Address:
Alex E Elobu
Department of Surgery, Makerere College of Health Sciences, Mulago Hospital Complex, Mulago Hill Road, P. Box 7103 Kampala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.161826

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Background: Research is critical to the training and practice of surgery and anesthesia in all settings, regardless of available resources. Unfortunately, the output of surgical and perioperative research from Africa is low. Makerere University College of Health Sciences' (MakCHS) surgical and anesthesia trainees are required to conduct research, though few publish findings or go on to pursue careers that incorporate research. We believe that early career experiences with research may greatly influence physicians' future conduct and utilization of research. We therefore sought to analyze trainee experiences and perceptions of research to identify interventions that could increase production of high-quality, locally led, surgical disease research in our resource-constrained setting. Methods: Following ethical approval, a descriptive, cross-sectional survey was conducted among anesthesia and surgery trainees using a pretested, self-administered questionnaire. Data were tabulated and frequency tables generated. Results: Of the 43 eligible trainees, 33 (77%) responded. Ninety-four percent identify research as important to career development, and 85% intend to publish their dissertations. The research dissertation is considered a financial burden by 64%. Also, 49% reported that their departments place low value on their research, and few of the findings are utilized. Trainees report that lack of protected research time, difficulty in finding research topics, and inadequate mentorship are the main challenges to conducting research projects. Discussion: Our anesthesia and surgery trainees spend considerable resources on research endeavors. Most have significant interest in incorporating research into their careers, and most intend to publish their work in peer-reviewed journals. Here we identify several challenges facing trainees including research project development, financing and mentorship. We hope to use these results to improve support in these areas for our trainees and those in other resource-limited areas.

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