Money Matters! A New Costing Tool for Health Worker Retention

Subrata RouthI work on health systems strengthening, mostly for low-income countries. One major challenge is attracting and retaining health workers in rural and remote areas where health services are mostly scanty. Let me quote the recent WHO global policy recommendations for retention:

Approximately one half of the global population lives in rural areas, but these areas are served by only 38% of the total nursing workforce and by less than a quarter of the total physician workforce.

Which retention strategies should be pursued, and how much will they cost? Faced with multiple priorities and limited means, policy-makers want to know up-front what a recommendation will cost, to gauge the affordability of its implementation. Uganda, for instance, developed its Motivation and Retention Strategy back in 2008, but could not implement it because it didn’t know what the incremental costs would be.

In collaboration with WHO, CapacityPlus is designing a simple and user-friendly costing tool. Instead of depending on external technical assistance, HR managers or other health officials will be able to cost a retention strategy at the district, regional, or national level.

Historically, this kind of costing has been undertaken by health economists, which can be expensive. In contrast, our new tool is designed with the layperson in mind. You don’t need to be an economist to use it and understand the results. Read more »

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