The World Health Organization has released the first global recommendations for improving the retention of health workers in remote and rural areas.
You might think from the way that we often discuss this issue that it is a peculiarly Australian problem, and one that simply requires us to pay rural doctors more. Wrong on both counts.
Globally, about one half of the population lives in rural areas, but less than 38 per cent of the nurses and less than 25 per cent of the physicians work there.
After a year-long consultative effort, the WHO document proposes 16 recommendations on how to improve the recruitment and retention of health workers in underserved areas. You can see what they are at the bottom of this post (only one of the recommendations relates to financial incentives).
Kim Webber, CEO of Rural Health Workforce Australia and a member of the expert panel advising the WHO on the document, shares her diary of this week’s conference marking the release of the recommendations and then lists the major points.