Research Articles

A qualitative study of young Nigerian family physicians’ views of their specialty

Kenneth Yakubu, K Hoedebecke, L Pinho-Costa, O Popoola, I Okoye
South African Family Practice | Vol 59, No 3 : May/June| a4553 | DOI: | ©
Submitted: 01 September 2016 | Published: 10 July 2017

About the author(s)

Kenneth Yakubu, 1. AfriWon Research Theme Group, 2. Department of Family Medicine, University of Jos/Jos University teaching Hospital, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, Nigeria
K Hoedebecke, Yongsan Health Clinic, Korea, Republic of
L Pinho-Costa, Fânzeres Family Health Unit, Portugal
O Popoola, Federal Staff Hospital, Nigeria
I Okoye, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Nigeria

Full Text:

PDF (411KB)


Background: In Nigeria, the specialty of family medicine (FM) has endured its own share of identity crises. This study was aimed at generating hypotheses about what describes a practising family physician (FP) and the specialty, according to young Nigerian FPs.

Methods: Using the online platform for young African FPs alongside text messages and emails from volunteer research assistants over an eight-week period (March 3 to April 30, 2015), a purposive sample of young Nigerian FPs were asked to describe their favourite aspect of FM in a single word/phrase. Responses were provided in English/individual’s mother tongue. Translation of the words was performed by respondents and additional collaborators fluent in these languages. Thematic analysis using the grounded theory approach was performed.

Results: Twenty-four responses were received consisting of four themes: Scope, Family, Skills/Feelings/Values, and Professional Fulfilment. The resulting data portrayed the FP as one who possesses a unique skill-set, enjoys fulfilment in the profession, deals with undifferentiated diseases and is able to provide holistic care for patients (irrespective of age and gender) from a family-centred perspective. When compared with accepted domains of FM for Africa and Europe, roles of the FP in community-oriented care and primary care management were absent.

Conclusion: While this showcases the young Nigerian FPs’ acceptance of their role in providing comprehensive primary care, it suggests a lesser acceptance of their role in community-oriented primary care as well as primary care management. This study provides a basis for future, quantitative research describing attitudes and competence in these areas.

(Full text of the research articles are available online at

S Afr Fam Pract 2017; DOI: 10.1080/20786190.2017.1292694


family practice; grounded theory; identity crisis; Nigeria; primary health care


Total abstract views: 1570
Total article views: 757

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.