Background: The number of international academic partnerships and global health programs is expanding rapidly worldwide. Although the benefits of such programs to visiting international partners have been well documented, the perceived impacts on host institutions in resource-limited settings have not been assessed adequately. We sought to describe the perspectives of postgraduate, Ugandan trainees toward international collaborations and to discuss how these perceptions can be used to increase the positive impact of international collaborations for the host institution.
Methods: We conducted a descriptive, cross-sectional survey among anesthesia and surgery trainees at Makerere College of Health Sciences (Kampala, Uganda) using a pretested, self-administered questionnaire. Data were summarized as means or medians where applicable; otherwise, descriptive statistical analyses were performed.
Results: Of 43 eligible trainees, 77% completed the questionnaire. The majority (75%) agreed that visiting groups improve their training, mostly through skills workshops and specialist camps. A substantial portion of trainees reported that international groups had a neutral or negative impact on patient care (40%). Only 15% agreed that research projects conducted by international groups are in priority areas for Uganda. Among those surveyed, 28% reported participation in these projects, but none has published as a coauthor. Nearly one-third of trainees (31%) reported discomfort with the ethics of some clinical decisions made by visiting faculty.
Conclusion: The current perspective from the surgery and anesthesia trainees of Makerere College of Health Sciences demonstrates rich ground for leveraging international collaborations to improve training, primarily through skills workshops, specialist camps, and more visiting faculty involvement. This survey also identified potential challenges in collaborative research and ethical dilemmas that warrant further examination.
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