Childhood Diabetes in a Developing Country; How Much Knowledge Can the Clinical Medical Students Offer?
Background: Knowledge of childhood diabetes is not as common as diabetes in adults. Previous studies revealed a gross deficiency in the
knowledge of childhood diabetes among the general population. Unfortunately, with the exception of paediatric endocrinologists, many doctors do not have in‑depth knowledge of childhood diabetes. Focused attention on medical students becomes necessary since medical students are the future custodians of the medical profession and major disseminators of information. It becomes imperative for them to be knowledgeable of this poorly discussed and neglected disease but still exists among us. The study assesses the depth of knowledge of childhood diabetes among clinical medical students.
Methods: A cross‑sectional interview of consenting final, penultimate, and year four medical students of the University of Nigeria (UNN) was performed in December 2019. A semi‑structured self‑administered questionnaire was used to assess their knowledge of childhood diabetes. For the purposes of this study, knowledge <50% was graded as poor, equal to 50% and <70% was average and good for equal to and >70%. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 22. Descriptive statistics and Pearson Chi‑squared were used as appropriate.
Results: Seventy‑seven percent of the students were aware of childhood diabetes, while 23% had no idea that diabetes could occur in children. Yet, in‑depth knowledge of the different aspects of diabetes was deficient among students in successive classes. An average of 17.2%, 24.2%, 11.3%, and 4.8% of the students had good knowledge of the definition, pathophysiology, clinical manifestation, and complications, respectively. All the 4th year clinical students could not define childhood diabetes nor the different types. In general, a positive association existed between the depth of knowledge and the year of the study (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Among the medical students studied, there is a deficiency in the knowledge of childhood diabetes. This underscores the need for a wider curriculum spectrum in childhood diabetes.
Keywords: Childhood diabetes, knowledge, medical students