Research

The effect of the initial months of the COVID-19 national lockdown on MMed training activities at the University of the Free State, South Africa

C Meyer, C Barrett, G Joubert, N Mofolo

Abstract


Background. Shortly after the first case of SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19) had been reported in South Africa, a national lockdown was declared. Subsequently, the University of the Free State (UFS) changed from a contact delivery mode to remote multimodal teaching, learning and assessment.

Objectives. To determine the effect of the initial months of the COVID-19 lockdown on MMed training activities at the UFS, specifically the demographic and health profile of students, research progress, academic activities and the clinical training environment.

Methods. A cross-sectional study using an anonymous self-administered questionnaire was used. All registered MMed students at the UFS were eligible to participate.

Results. A response was obtained from 134 (51.9%) of 258 registrars, most of whom were included in the analysis (n=118; 45.7%). Significant associations between the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on day-to-day clinical work and the ability to work on MMed research (p<0.01) and self-directed learning time (p<0.01) were noted. Changes in domestic circumstances affecting MMed research were reported by 26.9% of respondents. Worsening or new symptoms of stress were reported by 40.0% of respondents.

Conclusion. The initial months of the COVID-19 lockdown might have far-reaching implications for registrars’ academic progress. Registrars experienced adverse psychosocial consequences that might impede their academic progress.


Authors' affiliations

C Meyer, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

C Barrett, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

G Joubert, Department of Biostatistics, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

N Mofolo, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

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Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2022;14(1):33.

Article History

Date submitted: 2022-03-18
Date published: 2022-03-18

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