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In the northern arid lands and other remote parts of Kenya, the Capacity Kenya project has been working with the Ministry of Health to design simple packages to attract health workers and encourage them to stay. Starting with a selected list of diverse pilot sites, the project set out to design intervention packages, implement them, and systematically evaluate their impact on health worker retention over time.
A couple of weeks ago I attended the Second Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Bangkok, which gave me a unique opportunity to learn about the struggles, successes, and constraints of other countries. As I listened to the experiences of others and what they see as best practices, I kept thinking about what new interventions might work best in the Kenyan context. I left Bangkok with more questions than answers, and I believe the community of practice on health worker retention will continue to face challenges as we scale up beyond controlled and localized contexts.
I saw four key challenges in trying to apply the experiences of other countries to the Kenyan context:
I think we can do better and do more. Sifting through these case studies, some clear directions came to mind about what we need to work on and what kind of research is needed in health worker retention.
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