Self-reported knowledge, attitudes, practices and barriers in use of evidence-based medicine among resident physicians in Kenya: a mixed methods study

Megha B. Unadkat, Caroline K. Mbuba, Anthony K. Ngugi, Dorothy Kamya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Evidence based medicine (EBM) helps clinicians to integrate latest research evidence into their daily clinical practice. There is a need for all healthcare professions to adopt it in order to provide safe and most cost-effective care. Postgraduate doctors are at the frontline of healthcare delivery and all medical institutions should strive to produce practitioners of EBM. Studies have shown that physicians are still struggling to adapt to this paradigm shift in the practice of medicine but very few studies have been done in Sub Saharan Africa. This study explored the self-reported knowledge, attitudes, practices and barriers of evidence-based practice among resident physicians in a tertiary teaching hospital. Methods: A mixed methods cross-sectional study that used convergent parallel design was conducted. The quantitative arm was conducted among all residents enrolled in the Master of Medicine programme at Aga Khan University Hospital Nairobi (AKUHN). It included an online survey exploring self-reported knowledge, attitudes, practices and barriers of EBM among all residents. Simultaneously, semi-structured In-Depth Interviews were carried out among 18 purposefully selected residents in order to explore the same themes in more depth. Results: One hundred and one residents (99%) responded to the survey. The mean scores for self-reported knowledge, attitude and practice of EBM among residents were 73.88, 66.96 and 63.19% respectively, which were generally higher than in comparable studies. There was a significant association between year of residency and practice of EBM. The most common barriers faced by residents were lack of time, lack of EBM skills and patients’ unawareness about EBM. From the qualitative study, residents demonstrated good knowledge and support of EBM but practice remained relatively poor. Barriers to EBM were characterized by lack of motivation, time, skills and resources, patient overload and fear of challenging consultants. Conclusion: There was good understanding and support of EBM among residents at AKUHN, though challenges were experienced in regards to practice of EBM because of lack of time and skills. Therefore resources should be allocated towards integrating EBM into undergraduate medical curricula to cultivate critical thinking skills at an early stage before transition into residency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number537
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Attitude
  • Barriers
  • Evidence Based Medicine
  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Knowledge
  • Mixed methods
  • Postgraduate Medical Education
  • Practice


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