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Afr J Paediatr Surg. 2008 Jan-Jun;5(1):3-7. doi: 10.4103/0189-6725.41627.

Paediatric surgical research and publications in a developing country setting.

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Division of Paediatric Surgery, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria.



Research and publications are important in advancing quality of care as well as improving knowledge. Paediatric surgical research and publications in sub Saharan Africa have not been given much focused attention.


A retrospective review of published work in paediatric surgery from a major paediatric surgical centre in Nigeria from 1969 - 2005. All published work were reviewed for nature of research, organ/system and disease condition studied, nature of publication, volume of publication in relation to staffing as well as journal of publication.


During the period there were 153 publications consisting of 86 (56.2%) original researches (77 of which were of retrospective study designs and 9 prospective), 56 (36.6%) case reports, 8 (5.2%) letters and 4 (2.6%) review articles. None of the studies and publications was funded. More publications were made when the department of surgery was better staffed. Congenital anomalies (57, 37.3%) and surgical infections (28, 18.3%) were more frequently studied and in 82 (53.4%) publications the gastrointestinal tract was the focus. Most publications were in general medical journals (58, 37.9%) and general paediatric journals (54, 35.3%) but publications in paediatric surgical journals has continued to increase over the years and reached 25.9% by 2005. Some of the difficulties and challenges faced included lack of funding, poor staffing and inadequate facilities for laboratory research.


Paediatric surgical research and publication in Nigeria is increasing but faces important limitations. Advocacy efforts are needed to improve funding. Networking as well as collaboration is necessary to improve the quality and spectrum of research.

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