Gender variations in specialties among medical doctors working in public healthcare institutions in Bayelsa State, Nigeria
Background: Gender variations exist in the choice of specialties among doctors globally. This variation is of public health importance as it affects the distribution of doctors in public health institutions and patient care. In Bayelsa, Nigeria,no such study had been undertaken.This study aimed to examine gender variations in specialties among medical doctors working in public healthcare institutions in Bayelsa State.
Methods: Cross-sectional study design was adopted for this study. Information about doctors working in public healthcare institutions in Bayelsa were collected via data extraction from the register of doctors at Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) and at Hospital Management Board (HMB) of State Ministry of Health, and with self-completed questionnaires from doctors at Federal Medical Centre (FMC). In this paper, statistical analyses were restricted to data from FMC (n=91) and NDUTH (n=100) because they have multiple specialties. All available data were analyzed by gender and data analyses were carried out using SPSS statistical software.
Results: Out of the191 doctors included in the analysis, 135(70.7%) were males. The median age was 32 years for male doctors and 29 years for female doctors.The top three specialty choices for males were obstetrics and gynaecology (14.8%),internal medicine (11.1%) and surgery (8.9%). For female doctors,pediatrics was the topmost specialty (25%) followed by obstetrics and gynaecology (10.7%) and internal medicine (8.9%). There were no female doctors in 14 specialties. Female doctors had higher proportions of house officers compared to males (45.5% versus 32.3% respectively). Conversely, male doctors had higher proportions of consultants/specialists than females (24.1% versus 9.1% respectively).
Conclusion: Specialty distribution of doctors in Bayelsa is gendered and some specialties appear not to attract female doctors. These findings call for further studies to investigate the factors responsible for this gender variation, and to identify and address any barriers.
Keywords: Gender variation,Specialties,Doctors,Public healthcare,Health workforce