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Healthcare providers’ and managers’ knowledge, attitudes and perceptions regarding international medical volunteering in Uganda: a qualitative study

Hayes, Fenella, Clark, Janet and McCauley, Mary ORCID: (2020) 'Healthcare providers’ and managers’ knowledge, attitudes and perceptions regarding international medical volunteering in Uganda: a qualitative study'. BMJ Open, Vol 10, Issue 12, e039722.

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Objectives: The study sought to explore the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of healthcare providers and health programme managers regarding the benefits, challenges and impact of international medical volunteers’ clinical placements. Views on how to better improve the work of international medical volunteers and the volunteer organisation Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) for the benefit of local communities were also explored. Settings: Public healthcare facilities, VSO offices in Gulu and VSO offices in Kampala, Uganda. Participants: Ugandan healthcare providers (n=11) and health programme managers (n=6) who had worked with or managed international medical volunteers. Interventions: Data collection was conducted using key informant interviews. Transcribed interviews were coded by topic and grouped into categories. Thematic framework analysis using NVivo identified emerging themes. Results: Both healthcare providers and managers reported a beneficial impact of volunteers and working with the volunteer organisation (clinical service provision, multidisciplinary teamwork, patient-centred care, implementation of audits, improved quality of care, clinical teaching and mentoring for local healthcare providers); identified challenges of working with volunteers (language barriers and unrealistic expectations) and the organisation (lack of clear communication and feedback processes); and provided recommendations to improve volunteer placements and working partnership with the organisation (more local stakeholder input and longer placements). Most healthcare providers were positive and recommended that volunteers are enabled to continue to work in such settings if resources are available to do so. Conclusions: Healthcare providers based in a low-resource setting report positive experiences and impacts of working with international medical volunteers. Currently, there is lack of local feedback processes, and the establishment of such processes that consider local stakeholder reflections requires further strengthening. These would help gain a better understanding of what is needed to ensure optimal effectiveness and sustainable impact of international medical volunteer placements.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: W General Medicine. Health Professions > W 21.5 Allied health personnel. Allied health professions
W General Medicine. Health Professions > W 21 Medicine as a profession.
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: Stacy Murtagh
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2020 10:34
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2021 11:59


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