TACKLING THE GRASSROOTS: APPRAISAL OF CAREER CHOICE AND PROSPECTS OF THE STUDENTS AT A MEDICAL SCHOOL IN TANZANIA.

Afadhali D. Russa, Nuru. L. Mligiliche, Rehema C.Malya
Correspondence to
Dr. Afadhali Denis Russa, Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health Sciences and Allied Sciences, P. O. Box 65001, Dares Salaam, Tanzania. Email: adrussa@yahoo.com // drussa@muhas.ac.tz. Tel: +255 755 524 771 Fax: +255 22 215046

ABSTRACT
Tanzania has one of the world’s worst doctor-to-population ratio. Ironically, the number of medical graduates who do not practice medicine remains very high. Lack of interest and commitment of the young doctors may greatly contribute to the huge number of non-practicing doctors. We assessed medical students’ career views from interest and choice during childhood, their current learning motivations, future career expectations and interest to work in the academia. One hundred and ninety five students halfway their first year of medical school complete a self-administered questionnaire with a verbal consent sought from each respondent. Four in every ten students had made their decision to become a doctor before or during primary school. Over 5 out of 10 students made their choice during secondary school. Majority chose medicine due to altruistic and humanity reasons and would prefer work in clinical practice in the hospital. Very few would prefer a faculty job. Knowing about the human body, controlling and managing diseases are the main motivating factors. ‘Too much to learn’ and ‘tight
schedules’ were the most aspect and deterrent factors during the medical school and the medical profession in general. Attaining a higher academic honour such as a professorship would not inspire students into the academia. Majority of students make their medical career choice early in life driven by altruistic reasons. Poor learning environments disenchant them from the passion for the career. More studies are needed to assess and improve the training in medicine.
Keywords: Medical students, motivation, career prospects, Tanzania
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