Sub-specialization preferences among ophthalmology masters students in Eastern Africa
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Objective: To determine the sub-specialization preferences among masters of medicine in ophthalmology in selected universities in Eastern Africa and barriers to sub-specialization. Design: This was a cross-sectional study. Method: An analysis of data obtained from 35 masters of medicine students in ophthalmology from six universities/teaching hospitals in three countries within Eastern Africa was done. Results: Approximately 69% of the respondents preferred to sub-specialize of whom 25% preferred anterior segment. Approximately 25% of those who were not willing to sub-specialize advanced inability to identify an appropriate sub-specialty area and wish to practice ﬁrst as the major reasons in each case. Major beneﬁts identiﬁed for sub-specialization were; increase their knowledge and skills (31.6%), better patient care (21.1%) and marketability of their services (26.4%). Approximately 27.8% of the respondents cited lack of support after practice(38.9%) as the major sub-specialization challenge. Over 33(94%) of the respondents said they were not aware of sponsorship opportunities. Majority of the respondents (58.3%) preferred training institutions with hands-on-training and demonstrated experience in the sub-specializations oﬀered. Conclusion: Majority of the respondents were willing to sub-specialize and most of them preferred anterior segment. The main barrier to sub-specialization was inability to choose an area of subspecialty. Lack of support after practice and opportunities for sub-specialization, were the major challenges to sub-specialization. Consequently, awareness and information on sub-specialization and sub-specialization opportunities need to be increased as most of these students have no adequate information on sub-specialization opportunities available.