Perception and willingness of medical students towards working in rural communities
Introduction: The preference for the place of practice plays a vital role in the distribution of human resources for health. Research evidence points at specific medical student characteristics and preferences that can predict their practice preferences. This study aims to ascertain medical students' perception and willingness to practice in rural areas after graduation.
Methods: The study was carried out among 400-600 level undergraduate medical students at University of Nigeria Enugu Campus in Enugu metropolis, Enugu state. Nigeria. An analytical cross sectional study design involving use of questionnaire was done. Chi Square test and Binary logistic regression were used to ascertain socio-demographic factors associated with willingness to practice in rural areas.
Results: Majority of respondents were aged 21-25 years 134(67.0%), males 133(66.5%) and parents lives in urban area 166(83.0%),. About 6(3.0%) were satisfied on current status of rural health service, 132(66.0%) stated that medical training for rural practice were adequate while 67(33.5%) were willing to work in rural area. There was statistically significant association of father's occupation with willingness to practice in rural area (p=0.017). Determinant identified was fathers being farmers 1.4 times (AOR 1.143; 95% CI 1.27-1.84).
Conclusion: Perception of working in rural areas was good, while the willingness was poor. The major reasons for not willing to work in rural area includes; low standard of living and poor educational opportunities for children Giving doctors special allowances and changing duration of rural postings will encourage them to look forward to working in rural areas.
Keywords: Perception, willingness, practice, rural area