Attitude and Knowledge of Undergraduate Medical Students towards the Use of Animals in Medical Research: An Exploratory Study JC04-JC06
Dr. Sagar Karia,
Department of Psychiatry, OPD 21, New OPD Building, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Sion, Mumbai-400022, Maharashtra, India.
Introduction: Medical undergraduate courses and medical students have less emphasis on animal research and the various ethical issues surrounding animal research. Animal research plays a vital role in basic medical research and yet undergraduate students know very little about the same.
Aim: To assess the attitude and knowledge of medical undergraduate students towards animal research in general.
Materials and Methods: A total of 152 undergraduate medical students in the final year of their medical studies from two medical colleges (one from Mumbai and one from Kolhapur) were administered a semi-structured questionnaire on attitude and knowledge towards animal research. The questionnaire was validated by three senior researchers and was specially designed for the study. The data were collected and analysed using frequency and percentages.
Results: Only 66(43.42%) students had visited an animal house/animal laboratory in their medical training and 114 (75%) of them had actual experience of handling animals mainly in the form of dissection studies on rats, frogs and guinea pigs. Only 21(13.8%) were aware of ethical guidelines regarding animal research and 23 (15.1%) strongly agreed that ethical aspects of animal research needed stringent regulation in India.
Conclusion: Animal research awareness is scarce in undergraduate medical students and there is a need to incorporate animal research awareness from a medical science point of view in their curriculum to help them develop an understanding of animal research and its ethical dimensions.