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Lao People's Democratic Republic

As in many countries, attracting health workers to rural posts—and retaining them—is a challenge in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, where health workers are concentrated in cities while approximately 70% of the population lives in rural areas.

To determine what would motivate health workers to serve and stay in rural areas, the Ministry of Health, in partnership with the IntraHealth-led CapacityPlus project and the World Health Organization (WHO), conducted a rapid discrete choice experiment using CapacityPlus’s Rapid Retention Survey Toolkit. The ministry surveyed 970 health professional students and 483 health workers practicing in rural provinces to investigate their preferences for potential packages of incentives to increase rural recruitment and retention. Next, the ministry gauged the financial feasibility of the preferred incentive packages using iHRIS Retain, the costing tool developed by CapacityPlus in collaboration with the WHO.


Selected Achievements

Informed—through survey results and costing data—a new national recruitment and retention policy for the health workforce in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. It includes incentives to reward high-quality services and to encourage retention.
Placed 1,551 newly qualified health workers across Lao People's Democratic Republic through the first two phases of the national recruitment and retention policy in 2013 and 2014. We estimate that 2 million+ clients gained access to a health worker.
Surveyed over 1,400 health workers and students in Lao People’s Democratic Republic to inform a range new incentives that help motivate, retain, and deploy health workers where they’re needed most.
Revealed in the Lao People's Democratic Republic that when the population health benefits of rurally deployed health workers are taken into account, the expected net cost of rural incentive programs is substantially less than the original estimate.