Knowledge and attitude of doctors in a Nigerian tertiary hospital to the health effects of climate change: Policy implications

Authors

  • Dr. O.O. Akinyemi

Abstract

Introduction: Globally, physicians are expected to understand the threats posed by climate change and advocate for strong mitigation and adaptation strategies. This study was therefore designed to assess the knowledge and attitude of doctors at the University College Hospital Ibadan to the health effects of climate change as well as the policy implications of the findings.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted among 423 physicians who were grouped by cadre into house officers (82), medical officers (28), resident doctors (275) and consultants (38). A stratified random sampling technique was used to select respondents from the different physician cadres in the hospital. A semi-structured self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information. Knowledge and attitude were assessed using 44-point and 40-point scales respectively. Knowledge score <22 was regarded as poor. Similarly, attitude scores <25 were regarded as poor. Chi-square test and t-test were used to analyse the data at 5% level of significance.

Results: Mean age of respondents was 35.8±9.3 years, 59.3% were female. More than half (54.1%) had practiced for >6 years. Almost all (97.0%) were aware of climate change and the commonest source of information was television (81.1%). More than half of respondents (55.8%) had good knowledge of climate change; similarly, about half (53.7%) had good attitude towards climate change. Respondents’ characteristics that were significantly associated with good knowledge and attitude included age <29 years, male gender, being currently unmarried, being a resident doctor and practice for <5 years.

Conclusion: Climate change issues should be integrated more into the continuing medical education of physicians in order to improve their knowledge and attitude to climate change matters as well as their capacity to participate in its policy analysis. Keywords: Climate change, Physicians, Policy analysis, Nigeria

Résumé

Contexte: Globalement, on s’attend à ce que les médecins comprennent les menaces posées par le changement climatique et préconisent des stratégies d’atténuation et d’adaptation fortes. Cette étude a donc été conçue pour évaluer les connaissances et l’attitude des médecins du Collège Hospitalier Universitaire Ibadan sur les effets sur la santé des changements climatiques ainsi que sur les implications politiques des résultats.

Méthodes: Une étude transversale descriptive a été menée auprès de 423 médecins qui ont été regroupés en officiers de maison par des cadres (72), des médecins (28), des médecins résidents (275) et des consultants (38). Une technique d’échantillonnage aléatoire stratifié a été utilisée pour sélectionner les répondants des différents cadres médicaux de l’hôpital. Un questionnaire semi-structuré auto-administré a été utilisé pour recueillir des informations. La connaissance et l’attitude ont été évaluées en utilisant des échelles de 44 points et 40 points respectivement. Le score de connaissance <22 était considéré comme médiocre. De même, les scores d’attitude <25 ont été considérés comme médiocres. Le test du Chi-carré et le test t ont été utilisés pour analyser les données à un niveau de signification de 5%.

Résultats: L’âge moyen des répondants était de 35,8 ± 9,3 ans, 59,3% étaient des femmes. Plus de la moitié (54,1%) avaient pratiqué pendant >6 ans. Presque tous (97,0%) connaissaient bien le changement climatique et la source d’information la plus commune était la télévision (81,1%). Plus de la moitié des répondants (55,8%) connaissaient bien le changement climatique; De même, environ la moitié (53,7%) avait une bonne attitude face au changement climatique. Les caractéristiques des répondants qui étaient significativement associés à une bonne connaissance et à une attitude incluaient l’âge <29 ans, le sexe masculin, n’étant pas célibataire, étant un médecin résident et pratiquaient pendant plus ou moins de 5 ans.

Conclusion: Les problèmes de changement climatique devraient être davantage intégrés à la formation médicale continue des médecins afin d’améliorer leur connaissance et leur attitude à l’égard des questions liées au changement climatique ainsi que leur capacité à participer à l’analyse de leurs politiques.

Mots-clés: Changement climatique, Médecins, Analyse des politiques, Nigéria

Correspondence: Dr. O.O. Akinyemi, Department of Health Policy and Management, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. Email: seunakinyemi@hotmail.com.

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Published

2020-09-02

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Original Articles