To explore the current status of academic primary care research in Arab countries and investigate the barriers to its adequate implementation.
Research is an essential building block that ensures the advancement of the discipline of Family Medicine (FM). FM research thus ought to be contributed to by all family physicians; nevertheless, its development is being hindered worldwide by several challenges. The amount of research conducted by academic academic family physicians and general practitioners is scant. This phenomenon is more pronounced in the Arab countries.
An online questionnaire was emailed to all academic family physicians practicing in member Arab countries of the World Organization of Family Doctors WONCA-East Mediterranean Region.
Seventy-six out of 139 academic family physicians from eight Arab countries completed the questionnaire. Around 75% reported that they are required to conduct research studies, yet only 46% contributed to at least one publication. While 75% and 52.6% disclosed their interest in participating in a research team and in leading a research team respectively, 64.5% reported being currently involved in research activities. Of all, 56% have attended a research ethics course. Lack of training in research, the unavailability of a healthcare system that is supportive of research, insufficient financial resources, and the unavailability of electronic health records were perceived as major barriers in conducting FM research.
Although many physicians in Arab academic institutions expressed enthusiasm to conduct research projects, FM research infrastructure remains to be weak. This demonstrates the need for immense efforts from different parties particularly governments and academic institutions.