In recent years, heightened attention has been given to scaling up the production of health workers in response to the global human resources for health (HRH) crisis. While many countries face absolute health worker shortages and must increase their availability, the HRH crisis is not just a supply problem. The equally critical need to ensure that health workers are equitably distributed—especially to rural and other underserved areas—are motivated and remain working at their posts, and effectively provide health services, has caused recruitment, retention, and productivity to emerge as key elements in HRH systems strengthening to increase access to quality family planning/reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, and other primary health services. To attract and retain health workers in rural and underserved areas, countries must develop strategies that adequately address the interconnected economic, professional, individual, and social factors that influence health worker behavior and guide their employment decisions. Furthermore, as countries implement medium- and long-term workforce expansion strategies, they can maximize health system performance in the meantime through more efficient service delivery and improved productivity and performance of currently available health staff. How effectively the health workforce performs and uses other health systems inputs will contribute to improving health systems performance and, consequently, health outcomes.
To aid national HRH stakeholders in these key areas, CapacityPlus, in collaboration with the WHO and World Bank, has developed and disseminated a catalog of evidence-based approaches, tools, and other resources that provide HRH stakeholders with the capacity to develop effective retention and productivity strategies for the health workforce.
Tools and Resources
- User Guide with Case Studies: How to Conduct a Discrete Choice Experiment for Health Workforce Recruitment and Retention in Remote and Rural Areas
- eLearning Course: Designing Evidence-Based Incentives to Attract and Retain Health Workers Using the Rapid Retention Survey Toolkit
- Ensuring a Positive Practice Environment: Occupational Safety and Health for Health Worker Productivity
- Early Implementation of WHO Recommendations for the Retention of Health Workers in Remote and Rural Areas
- Net Costs of Health Worker Rural Incentive Packages: An Example from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic
- Differences in Preferences for Rural Job Postings between Nursing Students and Practicing Nurses: Evidence from a Discrete Choice Experiment in Lao People’s Democratic Republic
- Increasing Community Health Worker Productivity and Effectiveness: A Review of the Influence of the Work Environment
- Preferences for Working in Rural Clinics among Trainee Health Professionals in Uganda: A Discrete Choice Experiment
Partners in This Area
Global Health Workforce Alliance, World Health Organization, International Council of Nurses, International Hospital Federation, World Bank, Health Systems 20/20