Retaining rural health workers: lessons from the field

Meeting Organizer

World Health Organization (WHO)

IHPP Thailand

Contact Person : Dr Tomas Zapata,

29 January 2020
14:00 - 17:30 hrs.
Venue : Lotus Suite 12

Open to All Participants


The recent UN High Level meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) has highlighted the urgent need to strengthen the health workforce (HWF) to improve PHC, in order to achieve UHC. Frontline health workers in Primary Health Care (PHC), are a critical component in improving supply side capacity and access to health services (SDG Indicator 3.8.1). Retaining scarce skilled health workers is a major challenge in all health systems, but it is particularly pronounced where there is a need to deliver quality services in rural areas: poor retention of health workers, and unfilled posts, can be a major barrier to achieving UHC. The member states of WHO SEARO are well aware of this challenge, and for this reason the Regional Office launched a Decade for Health Workforce Strengthening, with a specific focus on rural retention, in 2015. In order to better understand the dynamics of rural retention, and showcase good practice in retaining the workforce in rural and remote areas, SEARO has recently completed six detailed country case studies examining policies and practice in improving retention (Thailand, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka). The case studies used a common template, and involved multiple stakeholders in each country. Key findings are being synthesized into a good practice report.


The objective of this side event is to present key findings of these rural retention case studies and to stimulate informed discussion about effective and innovative interventions to improve rural retention in the Region, and across the world. Audience engagement and participation will be a main feature of the event.