The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on postgraduate ophthalmology training program in Nigeria
Background: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has resulted in a challenging and an unprecedented pandemic in the 21st century. This pandemic affects almost all aspects of human life including the medical field.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional, descriptive multicenter survey of resident doctors in ophthalmology training programs in Nigeria. An anonymous web survey was created on Google form and circulated to ophthalmology residents in Nigeria using electronic communication tools between April and July 2020.
Results: Seventy-two ophthalmology residents in 25 residency training institutions across five geopolitical zones of the country participated in the online survey. There was a significant decrease in the number of patients attended to in the clinic per week by respondents, time spent in consulting per patient, number of unit admissions per week, frequency of eye camps and outreaches per month, and number of surgeries performed by the unit per month (P= 0.000) in the COVID era compare to the pre-COVID era. Two-thirds of respondents felt their posting schedules had been affected at least to a moderate extent, this in turn affected their eligibility for examinations. Three-quarters of the respondents also felt that the pandemic had negatively affected trainer–trainee and mentor–mentee relations in terms of knowledge transfer. Respondents recommended a greater focus on online learning.
Conclusion: In this survey, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been shown to negatively impact ophthalmology residency training. A need for a paradigm shift in training may be the way forward.