Original Research

Continuing professional development in Eswatini: Factors affecting medical practitioners’ participation

Rodney H. Magwenya, Andrew J. Ross
South African Family Practice | Vol 63, No 1 : Part 4| a5395 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v63i1.5395 | © 2021 Rodney Hudson Magwenya, Andrew John Ross | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 August 2021 | Published: 25 November 2021

About the author(s)

Rodney H. Magwenya, Outpatient Department, Mankayane Government Hospital, Mankayane, Eswatini, South Africa; and, Department Family Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Andrew J. Ross, Department Family Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Background: The availability of continuing professional development (CPD) activities does not necessarily translate into good participation by health practitioners. Reasons for low participation include time constraints, cost of some activities, irrelevant material and lack of access. This study aimed to explore the views of medical practitioners’ working in Eswatini regarding the factors that affect their participation in CPD programmes.

Methods: A qualitative study using seven in-depth semi-structured interviews and three focus group discussions (FGDs) of medical officers working in the public heath sectors in Eswatini was conducted between November 2020 and February 2021. Open-ended questions were used to explore factors that both motivate and demotivate medical officers participation in CPD activities. The interviews and FGDs were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim, the qualitative data were analysed using the thematic approach.

Results: The emerging motivating themes described by the participants were: (1) professional responsibility and (2) personal interest and learning need. Whilst the demotivating factors were: (1) non-relevance to clinical practice, (2) cost of participation, (3) lack of reward, and (4) no recognition for staying up-to-date.

Conclusion: The motivating factors are associated with deep learning and linked well with the principles of adult learning. The demotivating factors found were in keeping with findings from other studies in a variety of countries. It is important for the Medical Council and CPD organisers to be aware of the different motivations and de-motivations for practitioners to engage in CPD to enable them to plan and implement their programmes effectively.


continuing medical education; continuing professional development; medical practitioners’ views; motivation; barriers; adult learning theory


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