Staffing levels and factors associated with retention of health workers in selected health facilities in kumi district
Ssenyonjo, Godfrey Kakumba
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Introduction The World Health Organization highlights an estimated shortage of almost 4.3 million health workers worldwide. Many physicians and nurses emigrate from their home countries to pursue opportunities abroad, leaving behind health systems that are understaffed and ill-equipped to deal with the diseases that ravage local populations. The objective of the study is to identify factors influencing health staffing levels and retention of health workers in Kumi district so as to enable the District Health Team (DHT) to take appropriate measures to solve the problem. Methodology: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study that employed both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection.140 Health workers were randomly selected and interviewed using semi-structured questionnaires. In this study retention was measured as a having stayed in the health system for more than 2 years. Quantitative data was analysed using stata 10 software. Key informant interviews were held for the collection of the qualitative data and records review was carried out from the district health office. Logistic regression analysis was done to determine the independent variables that were associated with retention of health workers. Results: In general there was staff shortage of health workers at all levels except mid wives. Public health facilities tended to be better staffed compared to the private not for profit owned health facilities. Place where health worker came from, salary regularity and old age were major factors influencing retention of health workers in Kumi district. Conclusions: There were wide staffing gaps between the recommended staffing norms and the actual staffing levels of public health facilities at all the three levels of facilities in Kumi district. More severely affecting some cadres than others. Salary regularity, place where a health work came from and age have implications for retention. Recommendation: Government should establish more uniform salary scales per level of health cadre in the country in order to minimize movement of health workers from PNFP health facilities to government owned health facilities.