Ugandan Medical Student Career Choices Relate to Foreign Funding Priorities.
INTRODUCTION: The surgical workforce in sub-Saharan Africa is insufficient to meet population needs. Therefore, medical students should be encouraged to pursue surgical careers and "brain drain" must be minimized. It is unknown to what extent foreign aid priorities influence medical student career choices in Uganda. METHODS: Medical students in Uganda completed an online survey examining their career choices and attitudes regarding career opportunities and funding priorities. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and responses among men and women were compared using Fisher's exact tests. RESULTS: Ninety-eight students participated. Students were most influenced by inspiring role models, employment opportunities and specialty fit with personal skills. Filling an underserved specialty was near the bottom of the influence scale. Women placed higher importance on advice from mentors (p = 0.049) and specialties with lower stress burden (p = 0.027). Men placed importance on opportunities in non-governmental organizations (p = 0.033) and academia (p = 0.050). Students expressed that the most supported specialties were infectious disease (n = 65, 66%), obstetrics (n = 15, 15%) and pediatrics (n = 7, 7%). Most students (n = 91, 93%) were planning a career in infectious disease. Fifty-three students (70%) indicated plans to leave Africa for residency. Female students were more likely to have a plan to leave (p = 0.027). CONCLUSION: Medical students in Uganda acknowledge the career opportunities for physicians in specialties prioritized by the Sustainable Development Goals. In order to avoid "brain drain" and encourage students to pursue careers in surgery, career opportunities including surgical residencies must be prioritized and supported in sub-Saharan Africa.
Kakembo, N; Situma, M; Williamson, H; Kisa, P; Kamya, M; Ozgediz, D; Sekabira, J; Fitzgerald, TN
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