The Effectiveness of Health Workers Retention Strategies in General Hospitals in West Nile Region, Uganda.
Wawa, Badur R.
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WAWA R. BADUR (2011-M191-10021) The Effectiveness of Health Workers Retention Strategies in General Hospitals in West Nile Region, Uganda. This study mainly was aimed to find the main strategies practiced in general hospitals as to retain health workers in general hospitals in West Nile Region in Uganda. The specific objectives were to establish the effectiveness of retention strategies in general hospitals and barriers to effective retention of health workers and facilitators of retention of health workers in the general hospitals in West Nile Region in Uganda. The effectiveness of retention strategies was examined by establishing the level of satisfaction of respondents on how they perceived the specific strategies‟ contribution in meeting their needs and making them continue working in the general hospitals in West Nile in Uganda. A sample of 170 health workers was obtained, data were collected through respondents filling a questionnaire and interviewing of respondents from the four general hospitals, namely: Adjumani, Yumbe, Kuluva and Maracha Hospital. A cross sectional survey design was used and primary data were collected through interviewing and filling of questionnaires. The collected data were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The descriptive statistics were added to the quantitative data during the presentation and analysis of data and the subsequent discussion. The findings revealed that the most effective retention strategies in hospitals in the west Nile region were availability of staff accommodation, flexible work environment, support supervision, and career development. The least effective retention strategies in the hospitals by ranking included low staff salary, lack of involvement of health workers in decision making in hospitals and lack of recognition of health workers for good performance. The barriers to effective retention of health workers included: poor appraisal skills by supervisors, failure to address health worker needs, mismatch between the existing retention strategies and needs of the health workers. The study revealed that the facilitators of retention of health workers include; a salary that meets the basic welfare needs of health workers i.e. food, accommodation, tuition fees of the family members, transport and leisure. Good appraisal skills, recognition for good performance in kind because a mere thank you alone is not enough according to the study results. The research concluded that there is no single key strategy that satisfies all the needs of health workers so as to make them remain in the hospitals. It is rather a combination of strategies that gives satisfaction to health workers to stay. The researcher recommends that the districts need to invest more resources in the retention strategies or ways to retain health workers; for example, improving social and economic conditions of workers. Effective retention strategies in general hospitals require significant political and financial commitment from all levels of government. It is, therefore, recommended that retention policies receive support from Ministry of Health, District Local Governments, Donors and Civil Society Organisations. Strategies should be regularly evaluated to ensure their efficacy. Key Words: Effectiveness, Health Workers, Retention Strategies, General Hospitals, West Nile Region