Perceptions towards private medical practitioners’ attachments for undergraduate medical students in Malawi|
Matchaya, Medson & Muula, Adamson S.
ObjectiveTo describe perceptions of medical students, recent medical graduates, faculty of the College of Medicine, University of Malawi and private medical practitioners (PMPs) towards an attachment of undergraduate medical students in private medical doctors’ offices.
Method Qualitative cross sectional study conducted in Blantyre, Malawi in 2004 using in-depth key informant interviews and content analysis.
Results In general, private medical practitioners were favourable to the idea of having medical students within their consulting offices while the majority of students, recent graduates and faculty opposed, fearing compromising teaching standards. The lack of formal post-graduate qualifications by most private medical practitioners, and nationally-approved continued medical education programs were mentioned as reasons to suspect that private medical practitioners (PMPs) could be outdated in skills and knowledge. Private medical practitioners however reported participation in credible continued professional development (CPD) programs although these were not necessary for re-registration. Students and faculty suggested that the need for privacy in private institutions unlike in the public teaching hospitals as one reason why patients may not be willing to participate in the teaching in PMPs facilities. The fact that the patients profiles with regard to disease presentation (mostly ambulatory) and higher socio-economic status may be different from patients attending the public, free for service teaching hospital was not seen as a desirable attribute to allocate students to PMPs clinics.
Conclusion Faculty, medical students and recent graduates of the Malawi College of Medicine do not perceive PMPs as a resource to be tapped for the training of medical students.