Repeated exposure to dissection does not influence students' attitudes towards human body donation for anatomy teaching.
Mwachaka, Philip M
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The use of unclaimed bodies for anatomical dissection has been the main method of instruction at our institution. There is however a shortage of cadavers for dissection given the increase in the number of medical schools as well as in the number of students enrolling in these schools. This shortage could be mitigated by having voluntary human body donation programs. This study aimed at assessing the attitudes of medical students and surgical residents towards body donation for anatomy learning. We conducted an online survey involving 72 first-year medical students and 41 surgical residents at University of Nairobi who had completed one year of anatomy dissection. For the medical students, this was their first dissection experience while it was the second exposure for the surgery trainees. Most of the surgical trainees (70.7%) and medical students (68.1%) were opposed to self-body donation. This was mainly due to cultural (37%) and religious (20%) barriers. Surprisingly, of those not willing to donate themselves, 67.9% (82.8% surgical trainees, 59.2% medical students) would recommend the practice to other people. Exposure to repeated dissection does not change the perceptions towards body donation. It is noteworthy that culture and religion rank high as clear barriers amongst this “highly informed” group of potential donors.
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