RECCOMENDATIONS OF THE REGIONAL REVIEW MEETING ON HEALTH WORKER RETENTION Namibia, February 25-27 2009
EQUINET in co-operation with ECSA-HC have, with government and researchers in five countries, carried out review and field studies on the implementation of incentives for health worker retention and of their impact on the adequacy and distribution of health workers. A regional meeting was held in February 2009 to review this work and other work on health worker migration and distribution in EQUINET in Windhoek Namibia, locally hosted by the University of Namibia. The recommendations of the meeting are shown below. For further information please contact us at admin [at] equinetafrica.org, using "HCW Retention" in the subject line.
Recommendations from the regional meeting on health worker retention in East and Southern Africa February 27 2009
The EQUINET –ECSA HC regional meeting on health worker retention in east and southern Africa (ESA) was held in Windhoek, Namibia February 25-27 2008 and involved 32 delegates from government, academic and research institutions, health worker organisations, parliament and civil society from 10 ESA countries and from regional organisations including SADC and WHO (see delegate list). In line with the ECSA Regional Health Ministers Conference (RHMC) resolutions 2006-2008, the SADC Resolutions on Health workers, and the ECSA and SADC strategies on health workers, the meeting reviewed evidence from two regional review papers, five country field studies (see reference list), a multi-country participatory research programme and delegate experience to propose areas for policy, guidelines and research on health worker retention, especially in priority health services. ... continued below
Health worker migration and retention in east and southern Africa
EQUINET through University of Namibia, University of Limpopo and Training and Research Support Centre, in co-operation with the Regional Health Secretariat for east, central and southern Africa, is implementing in east and southern Africa research, capacity building and programme support for the retention of health workers and for management of out- migration of health personnel.
EQUINET research and dialogue identified three areas of focus for action on health workers:
• Valuing health workers so that they are retained within national health systems. This includes reviewing and implementing policies on non-financial incentives for HRH such as career paths, housing, working conditions, management systems and communication.
• Promoting relevant production of HRH, particularly in terms of the health personnel for district and primary care levels, and drawing on experience in the region on training of auxiliaries.
• Responding to migration, which requires closing the evidence gap with respect to migration (levels, flows and causes), financial flows, costs (benefits, losses) and return intentions and mapping the effectiveness of current policies.
Work has been implemented co-ordinated by University of Namibia on retention to support country programmes to monitor, evaluate and manage incentives for retention of health workers, particularly non financial incentives. EQUINET has also through University of Limpopo reviewed how global and international funds have supported - or not- current strategies for health worker retention.
A reference group has been identified linking with key institutions and individuals involved in work in health workers to advise and peer review the work.