My Research Interest

by Evo Olori Esievoadje.

After my Part 1 examinations, I was faced with the dilemma of getting a suitable topic for my Part 2 dissertation in both Colleges. Prior to this, I was preoccupied with passing Part 1, as were most of my contemporaries. Who cared about getting a research topic when I hadn’t passed the dreaded MCQs, MEQs, Essays and Clinical exams of Part 1? With all I had heard about the challenges and difficulties in post-graduate medical examinations, passing in one sitting was the only goal!

Then I finally passed! And it seemed like everywhere you turned, Consultants were asking for your proposal! Haba! Allow somebody rest! The frantic search started for a topic. Nobody was giving you topics to choose from. I longed for Part 1 with all the readily available materials to just read. The topics I came up with were rejected! Months passed with no reprieve.

Then I attended the Research Methodology Course of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria at Ijanikin. I went to the library there and was surrounded by an array of beautiful case books and dissertations (libraries have always been one of my favorite places). So many ideas popped up as I looked through them and made notes. I left Ijanikin feeling invigorated and ready to slay any dragon Part 2 threw at me.

I had chosen Universal Health Coverage as my main theme. It was appropriate as I was working in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) clinic at my health facility and saw the advantages of health insurance. When I had to attend to patients without health insurance, the difference was glaring.

Universal Health Coverage is defined as ensuring that all people have access to needed health services (including prevention, promotion, treatment, rehabilitation and palliation) of sufficient quality to be effective while also ensuring the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship (World Health Organization).

Searching for literature on universal health coverage in Nigeria pointed out the wide gaps in knowledge that needed to be filled. These gaps made me push harder as I realized that only about 4% of the population in Nigeria had health insurance. The numbers were so dismal!

It is obvious a lot of work needs to be done in this field. On the surface, it seems like the answer to the health disparities in Nigeria. But how could it be adapted to the Nigerian situation? The National Health Insurance Scheme was only for federal civil servants. Private companies like banks used private health insurance companies for their workers. Some states have developed their version of the scheme for their civil servants. Even though the initial plan for the National Health Insurance Scheme included tertiary students, prisoners, community schemes, this has not been implemented. What scheme would enroll the children, artisans, traders and unemployed adults?

And even when these are all enrolled? Would health insurance be the panacea to all the maladies in our health system? Would it improve health promotion practices? Would acutely – ill patients present early enough at health facilities and not self-medicate? Would having health insurance improve adherence to medications for patients with chronic diseases? Or would they prefer to patronize other sources of healthcare in order to avoid the long wait times at the government hospitals where they are mostly registered? Would it improve patient satisfaction in hospitals? Would it improve the standards of the government and private hospitals? How would abuse of the scheme be prevented? Abuse by the users, the health facilities and the health management organizations. The questions are myriad.

More research is needed on universal health coverage in Nigeria and Africa. The call for universal health coverage needs to be backed up by scientific data showing its advantages. Its downsides need to be documented and not just remain anecdotal. It is an interesting aspect of Medicine that sucks you in and makes you want to ensure every Nigerian gets access to it. Hopefully, that would happen soon.

Dr. Evo Olori Esievoadje is a Senior Registrar in the Department of Family Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, Delta State and an active member of Research Collaboration Network (RCN)

Qualities of a good Early Career Doctor as a researcher

by Oyinkansola Agaja

Early career doctors are dynamic, and they form a large proportion of the health workforce in Nigeria.

Research and discovery are a significant component of a physician’s life, and this must be adapted among early career doctors. Introduction into research early has added advantages, and knowing what is required and what lies ahead would help to prepare one for the task ahead as one is being introduced to the exciting field of research.

Qualities in an excellent early-career doctor as a researcher would include

  1. An initial interest. Such interest is like a desire or willingness or eagerness to commence research. It springs from a willingness to discover or understand unanswered questions. This initial interest is the single most important quality needed for research.
  2. Motivation – this is what follows closely to having interest. It provides the reasoning behind the initial interest in research and helps in advancing the initial desire to go into research.
  3. Being inquisitive means being unduly curious, asking questions. It shows a thirst for additional knowledge. This is an essential attribute of a researcher, and this is what keeps you in the game of research.
  4. Commitment – Being committed to a research idea keeps the research in focus and ensures the researcher gets to the end of the experiment and even permits for further advancement of plans and even publications in journals.
  5. Sacrifice – This involves giving up time inventing it and efforts towards the success of the planned research. This act would result in progress and advancement in the research.
  6. Excellence – A good researcher must work towards being outstanding or extra good. Attaining excellence will require a lot of efforts. He must aspire to excel in every part of the research.
  7. Knowledge – Getting knowledge is the primary purpose of any research. The research depends on it and would lead to additional knowledge which will bring about advancement. It is the main foundation on which research stands
  8. Scholarly approach -After carrying out a research project, the research report would have to be presented at the meeting and submitted for publication. The researcher must prepare for such meetings and make the best of such meeting.
  9. Integration- He must be ready to be integrated into the research process and work with collaborators if need be to get the best results possible
  10. 10. Open to mentorship- A good researcher should be open to mentorship as an adage says, he who enquires about the way to go never misses his way.

I hope this has helped and can be worked on by early-career doctors who would want to go into research. The sky is just the starting point for a researcher; there is no limit to him who has the above qualities.

Dr Oyinkansola Agaja

Dr Oyinkansola Agaja is a Senior Registrar(Paediatric Cardiology) at the Department of Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan. She is an active member of the Research Collaboration Network of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors(NARD)

My greatest research undertaking

by Damilola Ayowole

The human mind exists naturally in a state of constantly evolving curiosity about their inner self and their outer environment, and this attitude of curiosity births deep insights and inspirations that propels humans towards proffering solutions to the abounding and entangling challenges warring against our collective survival as humans.

The curiosity attribute of the ingenious minds remains perpetually insatiable, and for each step taken under the influence of the insatiable, transformational and liberating ideas become unleashed and made available for subsequent explorations.

My first step into the world of research was prompted by my innate attribute of amalgamated curiosity and problem-solving instinct. While it is true that I have done a few more studies after graduating from medical school in 2018, it’s quite amazing that the second research I did as a medical student remains my greatest research undertaking so far. I’m sure you are amazed and also curious about my stance in this regard!

I was in my final year when I saw an online publicity about a Scientific Conference that would have early career researchers present their research findings on the thematic area of “Adolescent and Youth Health“. The date of the Scientific Conference was less than two months from then, and I was in the Internal Medicine rotation. This busy department would hardly permit my involvement with any associate activity at that time.

But then, I suddenly got a strange courage that was deeply rooted in a book I read three years before then, with the title “Take the Risk” by Dr Ben Carson. So, I got encouraged to forge ahead with researching the subject of “Menstrual Hygiene Practices among Adolescents” despite the busy Internal Medicine posting rotation.

I approach Dr Jide Arije, a Public Health Physician and a Research Fellow at the Public Health Department, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (who subsequently became my research mentor), explaining to him my proposed research concept on the above-stated subject, he gave me the maximum possible support, and I began the research processes.

What then is unique about this research so much more that I am rating it my greatest research undertaking? It is because: It was the second research I would be doing as a medical student; the target population were female adolescents in six private and public schools across the three senatorial districts in Osun State; a mixed research method was used, as I had to engage two female colleagues as research assistants to help to moderate the Focused Group Discussions in the selected schools; It was the first time I would be a Principal Investigator in a personal-funded research; I had to risk failing my End of Posting exams by absconding from my Internal Medicine posting at the expense of travelling to schools in places as far as Iwo, Osogbo and Ilesha in Osun State Nigeria to collect quantitative and qualitative data for my research, all towards the end of participating in a Scientific Conference.

Following the execution of this research project, my passion for research increased exponentially, my knowledge base on research methodology and ethics widened, and my prospect for a worthy career in Public Health and Preventive Medicine became clearer, more determined and decided. That research built the foundation upon which my aspirations in the field of research has kept growing and blossoming. Joining up with the Research Collaboration Network of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors as a house officer earlier this year took me some more steps towards becoming a high profiled and proficient researcher I so desire. I count it a great and rare privilege.

“Following the execution of this research project, my passion for research increased exponentially, my knowledge base on research methodology and ethics widened, and my prospect for a worthy career in Public Health and Preventive Medicine became clearer, more determined and decided.”

I, therefore, believe that the insatiability attribute of every curious early career researchers (of which I am one) remains the fuel in the furnace of their progress as they gradually rise in the rank of proficiency. Hence, the ‘greatest research undertaking’ by every progressive researcher can be described as a dynamic state of achievement rather than static attainment!

Dr Damilola Ayowole

Dr Damilola Ayowole is an active member of Research Collaboration Network of NARD

My Personal View About Research

by Obabire Ayeyemi

My mother once told me a story about my five-year-old self. An uncle scolded me for refusing to hand him the morning paper immediately as I was reading it. I expected him to wait until I was done reading it that morning. However, he could not, at the time, understand a five-year-old reading a newspaper. Many times, like my uncle, non-researchers are unable to comprehend the child-like curiosity of researchers who chase after every bit of information and the scientific fact they can lay their hands on. How does a cloth trader explain to the neutral observer that he began using microscopes, that he built for the purpose of assessing the quality of fabrics, to examine samples of water, semen and meat? Eventually, he discovered micro-organisms, and he contributed significantly to the advancement of the germ theory of disease which laid the foundation for the study and treatment of infectious diseases and has helped save hundreds of millions of lives.

“How does a cloth trader explain to the neutral observer that he began using microscopes, that he built for the purpose of assessing the quality of fabrics, to examine samples of water, semen and meat?”

“Careful or diligent search for knowledge”, “collection of information about a subject matter”, “creation of new knowledge”. These are various definitions for research which, on face value, appear to be different but fundamentally address the same topic in a way that is analogous to the blind men who went to feel an elephant in a zoo. Each describes a different perspective of what research is. The diligent search for knowledge is the fundamental motive of all research, e.g. the need to understand disease processes or the search for safer treatments. While the collection of information from various sources is now the foremost means of collecting this valuable knowledge and the result is often the creation of new knowledge.

Over the course of millennia, mankind has been able to evolve its process of research. We have evolved, over the millennia, from a society that religiously believes in the absolute truth of myth and superstition to one that quests for knowledge through observation and logic. Now, we have the scientific method. In tandem with these changes, the custodians of knowledge have evolved from priests and religious leaders of old to philosophers and finally scientists/academics. In spite of the enormous leaps in scientific and technological capabilities of humankind, there are far too many unanswered questions, e.g. “What is the precise relationship between the brain and experienced emotion?”

“Over the course of millennia, mankind has been able to evolve its process of research.”

Clearly, research requires a healthy dose of inquisitiveness, an understanding of the process of collecting information and an ultimate commitment to advancing the frontiers of knowledge while accepting the evidence irrespective of where it leads. However, I think it is far more critical for researchers to always be mindful of the fact that scientific facts have an uncanny tendency to be fickle. Therefore we must also be open to the possibility that the sacrosanct truths of today may become relegated to the bins of myth. Our response to research that throws up findings different from what we already know should be: “How is this possible?” rather than: “that is not possible”.

Dr Obabire Ayeyemi works at the Department of Behavioural Sciences, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin. He is an active member of the Research Collaboration Network.

My Research Mentor


The Longman dictionary of contemporary English defines a mentor as “a person who is more experienced in a subject matter that advises, guides, directs and helps a less experienced person known as the mentee while research is an in-depth study into a subject to discover new facts or to test new ideas“. (1) Researchers at the early stage of their career require a mentor to act as a guide in their career and research. This requirement also applies to the medical profession and early career doctors inclusive. During undergraduate dental and medical education, dental and medical students are introduced to research during their rotation and clerkship in community medicine, also known as preventive and social medicine in some Nigerian dental and medical schools. There are two forms of mentoring, namely, formal and informal mentoring. There are few medical schools and residency training centres in Nigeria that have a structured mentoring system where students or junior doctors are assigned to mentors.

“Researchers at the early stage of their career require a mentor to acts as a guide in their career and research”

After completion of my National Youth Service Corps, I worked in a privately owned hospital. It was here I met my research mentor who has been guiding me in the path of research. My medical director by name Dr Hope Ilanye Bellgam, a consultant nephrologist and geriatrician, is my research mentor. My relationship with my medical director graduated from just been a boss to be my research mentor, coach, role model, a mother, an elder sister, aunty and friend. We have had rough times which are common in every relationship, but we are still forging ahead. In the beginning, I thought it was a disturbance, but now when I look back, I do not know how to say thank you to her.

Dr Hope Ilanye Bellgam


My first research with her was during the Rivers State branch of the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria annual celebration of their week. She asked me to design a questionnaire to survey self-breast examination among women doctors as the doctors are teaching other women to carry out the self-breast examination. Hence, it is necessary to know if they are practising what they are teaching other women. Another incidence I will always remember and be grateful to her is when she walked into my consulting room one day and asked me to draft an outline for a health talk on women’s health as she was invited by a women’s group to give the speech. The outline I prepared after some years metamorphosed into a book titled ‘What You Need to Know About Women’s Health’. My research mentor has also taught me a lot of moral as I always remember her usual quote ‘beneath my flawless skin are my scars’. I want to encourage every early-career doctor interested in research to identify a mentor to guide them if you cannot find one, continue searching you will surely find one that will lead you to greater heights more than themselves as ‘no one can stop the yeast from rising’.

Papers co-authored with her mentor

1. Bellgam Hope Ilanye, Buowari Dabota Yvonne. Specialist healthcare for senior citizens in Port
Harcourt, Nigeria – knowledge, attitude and expectations. Journal of Liberia Medical and Dental
Association. 2018, Volume 18, Issue 1 and 2, Pages 8-12.

2. Buowari Dabota Yvonne, Bellgam Hope Ilanye, Adebiyi Obelebra, Edewor Ufuoma, Agala
Vetty. Physical activities of doctors in Rivers State, southern Nigeria. World Medical Journal.2020. Volume 66, Number2, Pages 21-25.

Reference

  1. Longman Dictionary of English contemporary. www.idoceonline.com
Dr Dabota Buowari

Dr Dabota Yvonne Buowari currently work at the Department Of Accident and Emergency, University Of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. She joined the Research Collaboration Network(RCN) since 2018 and she is an active member.

The Research Collaborative Network (RCN) of the Association of Resident Doctors Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital Edo State: An Inspiration from Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD)‘s Research Collaboration Network (RCN)

Residency Training in Nigeria has stands on a tripod of service delivery, training, and research. Resident doctors form the majority of medical doctors in teaching hospitals. Despite their immense contribution to the generation of data and actual participation in research, studies have shown that they are quite often underrepresented in the publications that follow.

At the 39th Annual General Meeting of the NARD, the Research Collaborative Network (RCN) of NARD made some distinct presentations about the research among Early Career Doctors (ECDs), the RCN committee report also opened my eyes to the numerous work currently ongoing, and how this network spurs interest in research among resident doctors, it dawns on me that a great way of improving contribution towards research among residents in a local chapter is to replicate the NARD RCN in the local chapters. This approach, I will rather tag: “bringing NARD research awareness and initiative to the doorstep of members.”

As the Africa Proverb rightly says, “if you want to go fast, go alone if you want to go far go together”.

Picture mix of RCN, ISTH

Privileged to have great minds like Dr Efosa Isibor on the team, whose interest in research among formative doctors is unparallel, the Research Collaborative Network of the Association of Residents Doctors (RCN – ARD ISTH) was birthed. It comprises of representatives from various departments of the institution with its activities piloted by advisors comprising of outstanding individuals who have contributed significantly in advancing Medical science through research and training of Resident Doctors.

The primary aim is to have each member of the research team, participate in conducting and authoring credible research works in one year, while progressively incorporating more residents into the network. This will go a long way in improving the attitude of Early Career Doctors (ECDs) in our local chapter towards research as well as improve their contribution to Research works and publication.

Other functions include educating ECDs during their orientation programs on the benefits of participating in research collaboration as a core component of their training, organizing programs that will teach members the pathways to conducting credible researches.

The ORGANOGRAM

Dr Efosa Isibor –Chairman/Coordinator

Dr Ugochukwu Osuji – Secretary

 MEMBERS OF RCN, ISTH

Drs. Lawal.Q; Aituma.L; Itua. P; Omoike.P; Chukwu.I; Enegbuya.O; Adeaga.T; Onuoha.G; Otumu.T; Otumu.O; Okpunu.E; Oshevire .O; Ikwu.A; Isibor.F; Itama.U; Ngwu.H; Ogbetere.Y; Otaigbe.O; Oriaifo. S; Nkwogu. F.

ADVISORS

Prof Michael Ibadin

Dr Irekponu Omoike

Dr Ekaette Tobin

Dr Useni

Dr Oladimeji Adebayo

The team is making progress in achieving her aim.

Together we achieve more.

Dr Esele Ekuaze

President 

ARD ISTH 

Member , RCN, NARD

The COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the family dynamic of the resident doctor

Isibor Efosa

Recently, I became the father of a toddler; whose activity levels keep me wondering where he gets the energy to keep up with such activities. Of all the beautiful things about being his father, what delights me most is the sight of him running so excitedly towards me, with absolutely no attention paid to caution, his face gleefully lit, arms fully extended to get a full grip of me whenever I get home; this is an everyday occurrence. This feeling validates the sacrifices of parenthood, and for all the world can offer, I would not trade it. 

With these thoughts in my heart, one can understand the foreboding fear I harbour. The endless torture of uncertainties and the lack of answers to the questions always in my head; why did I sneeze? Why do I have a headache? Are these muscle aches from the day’s stress? Or….am I infected? Is my family safe around me? Should I take the test? What if I turn out positive? What happens next? Questions I otherwise will have ready and swift answers to if a patient asked me.

“The endless torture of uncertainties and the lack of answers to the questions always in my head…”

Well, this story is not about me, but of the numerous doctors who in so many ways have had their lives suddenly and rudely (unarguably so) distorted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

So, let’s start with the ones who had their weddings scheduled for the second quarter of 2020. After successfully asking or saying yes to the very rare “will you marry me” question, they end up at the forefront of the battle against the virus on the proposed wedding day. (1)

Now, as fortunate as those who had the opportunity to tie the knot, start a family and develop a balanced routine before the pandemic may seem, they aren’t left out of the chaos meted out by the infamous virus. Alas! They are probably the worst hit.

 As schools and crèches are closed due to the government lockdown, (2) and the idea of maintaining social distancing has seen domestic staff stay away, the additional burden of homeschooling children, babysitting infants, grocery shopping and carrying out household chores have become the sole responsibility of parents who also happen to be doctors. Routine tasks that would have been outsourced now have to be considered in work schedule. But guess what, the drama continues. While the pandemic continues, that parent and doctor are required to stay battle-ready and put in more time and effort to contain the virus. This may mean spending more time in isolation and treatment centres. In some cases of suspected exposure, he or she is required to stay away from family members for a minimum of fourteen days to minimize the risk of spreading the disease. But how do you spend more time at home and away from home at the same time? – One more question to which I’m clueless!

Well, times like this remind me that NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES, MOST WEAR WARD COATS”.

References

  1. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=12324989 (accessed 6th June 2020)
  2. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/nigeria-announces-lockdown-major-cities-curb-coronavirus-200330095100706.html (accessed 6th June 2020)

Dr Isibor Efosa is a Senior Registrar in Paediatrics at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital(ISTH), Irrua. He is an active member of the Research Collaboration Network of NARD since inception. He is also the Coordinator of the newly created Residents Research Collaboration Network of Association of Resident Doctor(ARD) at ISTH, Irrua.

COVID-19: Implications on the residency programme

By Lawal Qudus Olajide

COVID-19: Implications on the residency programme

By Lawal Qudus Olajide

The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has virtually transformed our world as we know it, with the revolution of the earth around its axis, apparently the only unchanged phenomenon. Within six months, the virus has left us all with no options than to live the new normal.

“Within six months, the virus has left us all with no options than to live the new normal.”

The residency program designed to produce specialists to confront diseases and infirmities is not immune to these effects. Various aspects of the program have been variably affected with some being threats while others are opportunities.

The most obvious is the ticking of time while the training program is literally on pause. Postgraduate medical college examinations have been placed on indefinite suspension, trainees can’t proceed with requisite outside postings, while others have been mobilized as volunteers for COVID 19 control programs. This situation will no doubt have an impact on the fixed exit date from the training program by the current cohort of Resident doctors- a challenge that needs to be addressed. 

Infection Control and Prevention(IPC) will play a central role in training, clinical practice, as well as examinations. The colleges may likely enforce the use of facemasks at exam venues. It would be, however, challenging to implement social distancing in the often-crowed examination halls, especially during the computer-based tests.

“Infection Control and Prevention(IPC) will play a central role in training, clinical practice, as well as examinations.”

The use of mannequins will likely play more major roles in subsequent exams as part of IPC measures. Candidates will be expected to familiarize themselves with the challenges and limitations of examination with mannequins

Regular case reviews are a core component of residency training that has been rendered impossible because of social distancing rules in recent times. Virtual meetings have been incorporated to circumvent this problem, and this may be a new normal post-COVID-19 era. The increasing use of virtual meetings also presents an opportunity to have international collaborations with lead experts from different part of the world.

Several local and international webinars are held daily, which improves the exposure and quality of residents’ training. The postgraduate colleges may also be forced to organize their regular intensive training courses via virtual means. 

COVID-19 virus ultrastructure

Going forward, in adjusting to the new normal, possible ways forward may include the provision of high-quality Wi-Fi services to ease the burden of poor quality network reception and unbearable cost of browsing on trainees. This is to enable residents to optimize the opportunities inherent in these virtual meetings.

The practice of telemedicine, which hitherto is very rudimentary in the country, may benefit from the great leap in the use of digital technology in medicine and thereby creating new frontiers for training and specialization. 

In all, this period of apparent lull in the residency training provides an ample time for trainers in various centres to review their programs to improve the quality of specialists being produced to cater to the health needs of the populace.

Dr Lawal Qudus Olajide is a Resident Doctor at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua, Edo State. He is an active member of the Research Collaboration Network(RCN) of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors(NARD).

Research among Early Career Doctors in Nigeria

by Isokariari, Ogechukwu M.

Like food is to the body, so can research be likened to a scientist’s career! Research forms the core of any discipline and determines the rate of growth and extent to which scientists keep up with evolving trends. 

Early Career Doctors (ECDs) are young professionals still struggling with understanding their role in the medical sphere while facing unique challenges; not the least being time and family constraints, and as such may not be particularly attracted to research. The fact that mentorship is a scarce commodity, especially in the Nigerian Health Sector, makes it even more challenging to compete in the scientific space of medical research.

I am an Early Career Doctor(ECD) myself, and even with my background in Epidemiology, I have made enormous effort to delve into research with so many obstacles inundating my path. Even though it is widely known that research involvement is needed for the advancement of one’s career, an ECD still needs some motivation in the form of mentorship to succeed in this poorly illuminated space. Studies have indeed shown that the earlier one commences involvement in research activities, the better and faster his future research efforts will be (1).

“Studies have indeed shown that the earlier one commences involvement in research activities, the better and faster his future research efforts will be”

Most ECDs in Nigeria have only ever been involved in research at the undergraduate level (as a pre-requisite for award of MBBS degree) or during their Pre-Part II residency training (also as a pre-requisite for the fellowship award). It seems evident that making research compulsory stirs up one’s active participation. Perhaps more compulsory opportunities for research involvement should be entrenched into the undergraduate and postgraduate training of doctors to increase their research engagement and help them develop a healthy research lifestyle. The fact that grants available to the young professionals are also limited, also makes engaging in high profile research difficult.

The problem of research in this environment is not only in producing scientific literature but also the process of utilising available evidence. The ECDs in Nigeria are not active seekers and critical analysers of original scientific evidence, rather making use of processed evidence; in the form of books and best practice guidelines from relevant bodies and organisations; to inform their practice. The ability to critique an article to determine if its results are valid is a skill still lacking among many ECDs practising in Nigeria. 

The results of my encounter with some ECDs within my institution has led me to believe that the “fear of the unknown” is actually more significant than the “unknown” itself. There are sincere yearnings and longing to partake in research, but most simply do not know where and how to begin.

“The results of my encounter with some ECDs within my institution has led me to believe that the “fear of the unknown” is actually more significant than the “unknown” itself”

I propose a solution to this research engagement gap in the form of Research Collaborative efforts which harmonises the expertise of different people into one outcome. One of such is the commendable efforts of the Research Collaborative Network (RCN) instituted by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) which has produced outstanding results. This can be replicated at each institution and at the state level to enhance research interest and engagement among ECDs in Nigeria.

References

1. Pimlott N, Katz A. Ecology of family physicians’ research engagement. Can Fam Physician. 2016 May;62(5):385–90. 

Dr Ogechukwu M. Isokariari is an Epidemiologist, Biostatician and Resident Public Health Physician. She currently works at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt and she is an active member of the Research Collaboration Network(RCN).

My Experience with Research as a Nigerian Resident Doctor

by Igbokwe Martin C.

The cliché “publish or perish” is commonly used in the academic world to describe the immense pressure faced by academics to remain relevant through their research output. Residency training is a period when the doctor acquires critical skills in clinical practice and research. Unfortunately, the tedious daily schedule of the resident doctor, poor mentorship and paucity of research grants limit the enthusiasm of many from making the pre-requisite efforts towards developing excellent research skills. I will attempt to highlight some of the key points from my experience with research as a resident doctor in Nigeria which can provide a model that may be useful to residents interested in building a research career anywhere in the world.  

Residency training is a period when the doctor acquires critical skills in clinical practice and research.

These include:

Having the right orientation– I initially believed that research was meant for the Consultants until I had better direction on the relevance of clinical research to the physician-scientist(1,2). The busy schedule and interaction of the resident doctor with patients, specimens and colleagues provides a golden opportunity to conceive, execute and write-up relevant research articles, and this applies to both junior and senior residents. House officers and medical officers are not excluded. The time to start research is NOW!

“The time to start research is NOW!”

Mentorship– I was mentored by a kind and benevolent General Surgeon, Dr Lekan Olasehinde. He took the time to guide me on research ideas, put me through the tricks of writing and shape my research career. Such mentorship was critical to my development as a budding researcher.

Starting small– My first paper was a case report on a rare condition which I encountered while operating. I followed up by submitting multiple abstracts and presented in both local and international conferences. Then I participated in retrospective reviews, cross-sectional surveys, molecular studies and prospective clinical studies. I also completed my dissertations for the Part 2 exams for both the West African College of Surgeons and the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria.

Like-minded peers- I was immensely influenced by Dr David R.A and other like-minded colleagues who all aimed at studying different themes in our speciality which were seldom reported in the literature in order to add to the body of existing knowledge. We spurred one another under the guidance of our trainers to execute standard researches, including our dissertations and earned authorship in several publications in peer-reviewed journals. The role of the Research Collaborative Network led by Dr Oladimeji Adebayo also played a crucial role for me as we engaged in studying several themes affecting Nigerian resident doctors and in the process delving into uncharted territories in the realm of research and the Nigerian residency program.

“The role of the Research Collaborative Network … also played a crucial role for me as we engaged in studying several themes affecting Nigerian resident doctors…”

The benefits – Research paved the way for my attendance of sponsored international conferences to present my research findings at Cape Town, South Africa and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, during my residency program. I also benefitted from research travel grants and international clinical fellowship awards by the Union for International Cancer Control and the Societe Internationale D’Urologie.

Dr Igbokwe at World Cancer Congress between 1-4th October 2018 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Conclusion 

In conclusion, I benefited immensely from my engagement in clinical research as a Nigerian resident doctor. The presence of mentors, motivated colleagues and a burning desire to answer relevant local questions are crucial to have a successful research career.

REFERENCES

1. Hepburn MJ, Battafarano DF, Enzenauer RJea. Increasing resident research in a military internal medicine program. Mil Med. 2003;168:341-5.

2. Nacide G. Ercan-Fang, Don C. Rockey, C. Jessica Dine, Saima Chaudhry, Thurayya Arayssi. Resident Research Experiences in Internal Medicine Residency Programs—A Nationwide Survey. Am J Med. 2017;130(12):1470-6.

Dr Igbokwe Martin C. is an active member of the Research Collaboration Network(RCN). He played an active role in making Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile-Ife’s team prominent in the collaboration.