African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine (2020-05-01)

Exploring gaps, strategies and solutions for primary care research mentorship in the African context: A workshop report

  • Chelsea M. McGuire,
  • Kenneth Yakubu,
  • Nana K. Ayisi-Boateng,
  • Keneilwe Motlhatlhedi,
  • Pius Ameh,
  • Bola B. Fatusin,
  • Martha Makwero,
  • Louis S. Jenkins

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12, no. 1
pp. e1 – e4


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Background: Primary care needs research to generate evidence relevant to community needs; however, there is a lack of research engagement among primary care physicians, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Improved research mentorship for family physicians (FPs) can help address prevailing knowledge and practice gaps in primary care research. Workshop process: During the 6th annual Africa Regional Conference of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA), we conducted three workshops on research mentorship for African FPs. Two workshops (one online and one onsite at the pre-conference) were geared towards the young doctors’ movement of WONCA Africa. The third was onsite during the main conference. Following a brief presentation on the concept of research mentorship and known gaps, participants broke into small groups and discussed additional gaps, solutions and anticipated readiness for implementing these solutions. We used a content analysis to summarise key concepts and had participants to review the findings. Workshop findings: Identified gaps related to mentees’ difficulty initiating and maintaining mentorship relationships and an overall shortage of capable and willing mentors. Organisational solutions focused on capacity building and creating a culture of mentorship. Interpersonal solutions focused on reducing the power distance and increasing reflectivity and feedback. Increasing the use of research networks and both peer and online mentorship were advocated. Barriers to readiness included resource constraints and competing priorities. Conclusion: A multi-level approach is needed to address the gaps in research mentorship for African FPs. Identified solutions hold potential for supporting the research engagement needed to improve the population health across Africa.