African Health Sciences

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Preparing medical students to recognize and respond to gender based violence in Nigeria

Olufunmilayo I Fawole, Jacquelin M van Wyk, Busola O Balogun, O J Akinsola, Adebola Adejimi


Background: Medical practitioners are ideally positioned to mitigate the impact of gender based violence (GBV) on the health of victims.  However, there is a lack of information on students’ ability and willingness to do so. Objective:  To identify factors which impact on students’ attainment of the knowledge and perceived ability to manage victims. 

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted on 388 (91.5%) final year medical students from three medical schools in South West, Nigeria.   

Results: Students were knowledgeable on sexual (63.7%) and physical (54.6%) forms of GBV and unfamiliar with other forms. The mean scores for knowledge (7.1 ± 2.5 out of 11); attitude (52.6 ± 10.3 out of 80); personal comfort (44.1 ± 10.0 out of 65) and skills (3.1 ± 2.6 out of 7) were calculated.  Younger respondents, females and married students reported less skill to manage victims.  The location of school, previous training and personal comfort remained significant determinants of students’ self reported skills on GBV. Respondents with prior training on GBV and comfortable with managing patients, were four times more likely to perceive they were more skilled than their peers [AOR = 4.33, 95% CI: 2.37 – 7.90 and AOR 3.53; 95% CI 2.16- 5.78 respectively]. 

Conclusion: Formalised skills training on GBV is a necessity, especially for young, female students and training cannot be left to serendipity. The medical curriculum should be reviewed.

Keywords: Undergraduate medical curriculum, gender based violence, violence against women, medical student perceptions, teaching and training undergraduate.
AJOL African Journals Online