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Is evidence-based medicine a mirage in resource-constrained settings? A survey among resident doctors in selected teaching hospitals in Nigeria.

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AIM:

The study aimed to assess the self-rated knowledge, attitude toward, and practice (KAP) of evidence-based medicine (EBM) among resident doctors in Nigeria.

METHODS:

This was a cross-sectional web-based survey among 238 resident doctors in four selected teaching hospitals in southern Nigeria. Survey questionnaire contained items assessing the KAP of EBM, familiarity with and understanding of key EBM terms, the use of EBM in decision making, barriers militating against EBM and ways to improve EBM adoption. Proportions and summary statistics were reported for the distribution of survey items.

RESULTS:

Mean number of years in clinical practice was 9.3 ± 4.5 years. Respondents were uniformly distributed in major clinical specialties. The majority (70.5%) were senior registrars. Respondents' understanding of EBM components included; current best clinical evidence (98.3%), clinical expertise (65.5%), and patients' choices (36.6%). Self-rated familiarity with EBM terms was high while perceived understanding of the terms was lower. The least understood concept was heterogeneity (20.6%). The attitude toward EBM was generally positive. Only about half (53.6%) had used medical bibliographic databases within the last 6 months prior to the survey. Barriers against EBM included lack of time (47.1%) and lack of requisite skills (32.4%). Suggestions to improve EBM adoption included training (58.1%), provision of free Wi-Fi, and free access to bibliographic databases (25.2%) and increased political will (23.1%).

CONCLUSION:

A further understanding of the EBM concept, provision of enabling infrastructure, regular clinical audit and advocacy to hospital management and clinical consultants, may improve the level of adoption of EBM.

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