The achievement of global and national health goals requires a health workforce that is sufficient and trained. Despite considerable steps in medical education, the teaching of management, health economics and research skills for medical doctors are often neglected in medical curricula. This study explored the opinions and experiences of medical doctors and academic educationalists on the inclusion of management, health economics and research in the medical curriculum. A qualitative study was undertaken at four medical schools in Southern Africa (February to April 2021). The study population was medical doctors and academic educationalists. Semi-structured interviews with purposively sampled participants were conducted. All interviews were recorded and professionally transcribed. Constructivist grounded theory guided the analysis with the use of ATLAS.ti version 188.8.131.52 software. In total, 21 academic educationalists and 28 medical doctors were interviewed. In the first theme We know, participants acknowledged the constraints of medical schools but were adamant that management needed to be taught intentionally and explicitly. The teaching and assessment of management and health economics was generally reported to be ad hoc and unstructured. There was a desire that graduates are able to use, but not necessarily do research. In comparison to management and research, support for the inclusion of health economics in the curriculum was insignificant. Under We hope, educationalists hoped that the formal clinical teaching will somehow instil values and best practices of management and that medical doctors would become health advocates. Most participants wished that research training could be optimised, especially in relation to the duration of allocated time; the timing in the curriculum and the learning outcomes. Despite acknowledgement that management and research are topics that need to be taught, educationalists appeared to rely on chance to teach and assess management in particular. These qualitative study findings will be used to develop a discrete choice experiment to inform optimal curricula design.
DATA AVAILABITY STATEMENT : Data cannot be
shared publicly because of the sensitive nature of
the research and concerns about potential loss of
confidentiality and violating the terms of informed
consent. The data underlying the results presented
in the study (number 277/2020) are available upon
request to the Faculty of Health Sciences Research
Ethics Committee, University of Pretoria (contact
via +27 (0)12 356 3084 / email@example.com.