Health Worker Retention Survey Tested in Uganda

Field testing began in August for an innovative tool designed to address the health worker shortage in remote areas of Uganda. CapacityPlus staff Laura Wurts, George Mgomella from associate partner African Population & Health Research Center, and consultant Peter Rockers initiated testing of the rapid retention survey tool, which measures the attraction to and retention of priority human resources for health cadres in rural and remote areas. The tool is based on the discrete choice experiment—a rigorous method for predicting decision-making using stated preferences data—and will allow HR managers to conduct motivation and retention assessments on their own with minimal need for external assistance, thus encouraging long-term sustainability.

CapacityPlus partnered with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Public Service, and faith-based organizations to form and train a 14-member data collection team that surveyed 700 respondents—practicing health workers and final year health students from priority cadres—over two weeks. The team sampled health workers in health center IV’s and referral hospitals in 20 districts, targeting three cadres: medical officers, nursing officers, and laboratory technicians. CapacityPlus also surveyed final year health students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and laboratory science from five universities. The project achieved response rates of over 85% from sampled respondents.

The results from this recently completed rapid assessment, along with CapacityPlus’s retention costing tool that will be field tested in Uganda in November, will help the Ministry of Health to decide the most appropriate incentive packages and determine their associated costs in effort to improve the attraction and retention of health workers. Once the tools are fully completed, CapacityPlus will help selected staff in the ministry and at faith-based organizations to effectively utilize these tools.