Knowledge of Public Health Ethics among Medical Doctors in Nigeria

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Authors : Maclawrence Kolapo Famuyiwa


This study is about the level of knowledge of medical practitioners in Nigeria on the principles of Public health ethics and the existence of national code of health research ethics in Nigeria. It is a cross-sectional questionnaire-based study in which 158 medical doctors were involved. Data analysis of the study showed that one hundred and forty (140) respondents completely filled and returned the Questionnaires, which represents a response rate of 88.9%. One hundred and twenty seven (127) Respondents (90.7%) claimed to have had medical ethics as part of their medical education. The Median duration of formal education or exposure to public health ethics was 5 hours (range:0-20 hours). Eighty four (84) respondents representing 60% of the respondents claimed to be aware of the body saddled with supervising of health research ethics in Nigeria, but only forty seven (47) representing 33.8% of the respondent were able to mention the name of the committee responsible for medical ethics in Nigeria as the National Health Research Ethics Committee NHREC). Sixty eight respondents (48.6%) have a good knowledge of public health ethics. Analysis of the identified public health ethics dilemma shows that end of life was the highest mentioned (77.1%) followed by discharge against medical advice (61.4%) and confidentiality by 60% of the respondent. The study thus concluded that there is obvious inadequacies in public health ethics knowledge among Nigerian medical doctors, and a clarion call should be directed at policy makers to overhaul the present medical education curriculum in Nigeria to include public health ethics at both the undergraduate and post graduate levels. 


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