Attraction and Retention of Newly Qualified Medical Doctors to Deprived Regions in Ghana: A Qualitative Case Study
Healthcare delivery is labour-intensive. Therefore, the health worker's role is indispensable in maintaining and improving individual and population health. In Ghana, the doctor-patient ratio is 1:10,450, with a disproportionate tilt in favour of the relatively resourcerich southern part of the country. The Upper West Region, located in Northern Ghana, is among the poorest regions in the country. The study uncovered why medical doctors are unwilling to accept postings to the Upper West Region, where their services are needed most, despite some efforts to attract, motivate and retain them. Current initiatives by the Ministry of Health and its partners to attract and retain doctors in the Region were also examined. Qualitative methodology was employed with an in-depth interview guide to collect data. Sixteen respondents comprising medical doctors, health managers and other healthrelated partners purposively selected took part in the study. Data were recorded, transcribed, coded, and categorized into themes in tandem with the objectives of the study. The study found that medical doctors are unwilling to take up appointments in the Upper West Region because of limited career and continuing professional development opportunities, poor financial inducement, weak leadership, and other important contextual social and cultural factors. Critical success factors to surmount these challenges include concessions and sponsorship for medical specialization training for doctors and clear, implementable national and local policies on postings.