Healthcare providers’ and managers’ knowledge, attitudes and perceptions regarding international medical volunteering in Uganda: a qualitative study
Journal – BMJ Journal
Article type – Journal research article – Other
Publication date – Dec – 2020
Authors – Fenella Hayes, Janet Clark, Mary McCauley
Keywords – healthcare, managers, medical volunteers
Open access – Yes
Speciality – Health policy, Other
World region Eastern Africa
Language – English
Submitted to the One Surgery Index on January 2, 2021 at 8:49 am
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.
OSI Number – 20834