Medical education in the COVID-19 era: A qualitative study of impact on and implications for a low-income country

  • Samuel R. Ohayi
  • Monday N. Igwe
  • Ifeoma N. Asimadu


Background: Medical education is fundamentally an extremely rigorous process. In Nigeria, facility shortage and schedule disruption following  recurrent strikes, insecurity and political uncertainties adversely affect medical education. COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictive  containment measures worsened the disruption. In response to these disruptions due to the restrictions imposed for the pandemic, institutions  including Nigerian schools devised various modifications to how they deliver education to ensure continuation while the pandemic lasts. Our school,  Enugu State University College of Medicine introduced online learning. The objective of this study was to ascertain clinical lecturers' and  clinical-level medical students' perception about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and associated nonmedical containment measures on medical  education and implications for our country.

Methods: We conducted a qualitative study using focus group discussion involving clinical lecturers and clinical-level medical students. Two focus  groups were recruited and constant comparison analytical method used.

Results: Participants believed that online learning will be ineffectual due to poor electricity supply, inadequate internet infrastructure and poor  access by students. They also agreed that suspension of training was an extreme response which could worsen prevailing poor medical manpower,  cause anxiety and stress for students and multiply financial burdens for parents. Participants suggested that government synergized with  information technology companies to provide internet access to universities; use of recorded videos for the delivery of education and computer  based testing (CBT) for some examinations.

Conclusion: Medical education is prone to disruptions by health-related crisis. Relevant authorities should explore the possibilities of remote  learning and problem-based learning among other interventions to ensure continuation of medical education in such situations. 


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-2407