Women’s gender preferences for their obstetrician and gynaecologist at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri, Nigeria
AbstractBackground: There has been a reported increase in women's desires to be attended to by female obstetricians and gynaecologists during consultations.
Objective: This study was conducted to find out if women have a gender preference in selecting their obstetricians and gynaecologists and the factors associated with their preferences.
Methodology: A descriptive and cross-sectional hospital based study using a questionnaire administered face to face in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital Maiduguri, Borno State, North-East Nigeria, recruiting 325 women who attended the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Out-patient Clinic over a 1-month period in 2009.
Results: Two hundred and one women (67%) showed gender bias for the attending doctor with 36.7% (110) in favour of female obstetricians and gynaecologists and 30.3% (91) in favour of males, while 99 (33.0%) were indifferent to the gender. Female preference was significantly associated with age (25-34years p=0.000), ethnic group (Kanuri/Shuwa p=0.000), occupation (housewife p=0.001), marital status (married women p=0.002) and religion (Islam p=0.002). Male preference was, however, significantly associated with higher educational status (p=0.000). Women who preferred male obstetricians and gynaecologists argued several different points, that male doctors have more sympathy, experience, dedication, availability, amongst others. Those who preferred female doctors rated religion, culture and tradition as more important.
Conclusion: Most of the women were gender biased for the attending obstetrician and gynaecologist, with a female preponderance. However, the present study suggests that for many women, their preferences were not based on gender alone, but also religious, cultural and traditional beliefs of the community.