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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.