Family Medicine needs assessment: Studying the clinical work of general practitioners in Ethiopia


  • Jane Philpott
  • Solomon Shiferaw
  • Katherine Rouleau
  • Donald Cole
  • Eileen Nicolle
  • Kevin Bezanson
  • Nick Pimlott
  • Christopher Meaney
  • Greg Nasmith
  • Marc Abbyad
  • Miliard Derbew2, Derbew
  • Amha Mekasha


Abstract Background and Objective: Some universities in sub-Saharan Africa have initiated Family Medicine (FM) residency programs. This study was conducted by FM colleagues at Addis Ababa University (AAU) in Ethiopia and the University of Toronto, Canada to inform the FM residency curriculum at AAU. It was designed to determine the clinical problems that family physicians in Ethiopia may encounter. Methods: We used a mixed methods approach: Modified time-motion study and brief interviews. We observed 46 general practitioners (GPs) across ten sites in Ethiopia. Trained observers recorded time-motion data while GPs conducted their daily work. This data was supplemented by brief interviews with the GPs. Findings: Clinical encounters occupied 82% of GP work. The common symptoms were digestive-abdominal pain (21% visits), respiratory-cough (16%), and general-fever and chills (16%). The common diagnoses were infectious (22% visits), genitourinary (12%), circulatory (10%), and endocrine (10%). Challenges identified were lack of clinical resources (57% of GPs), difficulties in communication (48%) and excessive workload (33%). Most common requests were for information technology (78%) and HIV (46%) training. Conclusion: The profile of common symptoms and diagnoses indicated the competencies family physicians in the regions should have. This information will be used to develop an appropriate FM curriculum at AAU. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2013;27(2):134-140]


How to Cite

Philpott, J., Shiferaw, S., Rouleau, K., Cole, D., Nicolle, E., Bezanson, K., Pimlott, N., Meaney, C., Nasmith, G., Abbyad, M., Derbew, M. D., & Mekasha, A. (2016). Family Medicine needs assessment: Studying the clinical work of general practitioners in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 27(2). Retrieved from