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Education And Debate

Trends in staffing an academic department of surgery in a tropical hospital: past, present, any future?

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 25 May 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1345
  1. P T Nmadu, readera
  1. a Academic Department of Surgery, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria
  • Accepted 5 December 1995


Objective: To evaluate the effect of staff mobility on student teaching, the training of young surgeons, and the volume of research in an academic department of surgery of a tropical teaching hospital.

Design: Retrospective study of academic staffing in the department of surgery of the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital between 1975 and 1993.

Setting: Zaria, Nigeria.

Subjects: 42 academic staff, 1190 medical students, and 110 registrars (trainee surgeons).

Main outcome measures: Number of academic staff in post, medical students, and registrars; number of research papers in latter years of the study.

Results: In 19 years, 42 academic staff worked for varying periods (1-15 years) in the university department of surgery in Zaria. These included six professors, 12 senior lecturers, and 24 lecturers. Although staff numbers diminished, numbers of students and registrars increased year by year. Average number of publications dropped from a peak of 14.4 to 7.4 a year.

Conclusion: Staffing of the department has fallen steadily over the years and has adversely affected the department's primary responsibility of teaching students and training young surgeons.


  • Funding None.

  • Conflict of interest None.

  • Accepted 5 December 1995
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