Women in Nigerian Neurosurgery: A Cross-Sectional Survey

World Neurosurg. 2024 May;185:e75-e85. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2023.12.072.


BACKGROUND: Although women have made remarkable strides in several medical specialties in Sub-Saharan Africa, their presence and contribution to the development of neurosurgery remain limited. We sought to study the gender differences within Nigerian neurosurgery, identify challenges resulting from these differences, and recommend how African female neurosurgeons can maximize their effects in neurosurgery.

METHODS: A structured online survey captured data on neurosurgical infrastructural capacity, workforce, and training from neurosurgical consultants and residents in neurosurgical centers in Nigeria. All the collected data were coded and analyzed.

RESULTS: Altogether, 82 neurosurgical consultants and 67 neurosurgical residents from 50 primary medical institutions in Nigeria completed the online survey. Only 8 of the respondents (5.4%) were women, comprising 3 consultants, 2 senior residents, and 3 junior residents. Although 40.2% of the respondents did not believe that being female affected the decision of whether to specialize in neurosurgery, 46.3% believed that being female was a disadvantage. Most did not believe that being female affected admission (57.8%), completion of a neurosurgery residency (58.5%), or life working as a neurosurgeon after graduation (63.4%). The most common challenges women face while navigating through neurosurgery training and practice are erosion of family and social life, lack of female mentors, and lack of a work-life balance.

CONCLUSIONS: There is a deficit of both female consultants and trainees among Nigerian neurosurgeons. Identifying female medical students with a strong interest in neurosurgery and providing early mentorship might increase the number of female neurosurgeons.

PMID:38741331 | DOI:10.1016/j.wneu.2023.12.072

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