What rural doctors want: a qualitative study in Chhattisgarh state

Kabir Sheikh, Shinjini Mondal, Pratibha Patanwar, Babita Rajkumari, T. Sundararaman

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2016.040


The importance of addressing concerns of rural health worker welfare in order to improve their performance and retention is widely acknowledged; yet there is little empirical research on the needs of rural health professionals. We report findings from a qualitative research study in rural Chhattisgarh, involving indepth interviews with 37 practitioners and data analysis using the “framework” approach. Participants’ expressions of their needs encompassed a range of reforms and improvements, including better salaries and job security, more rational posting and promotion procedures, and facility improvements. Opportunities for need-based skills training and better housing also emerged as key needs, as did better schools, assurance of personal security, and recognition and appreciation of their services by the administration. Increased investment in rural infrastructure and training, graded packages of benefits for rural doctors, and governance reforms to improve the internal accountability of government health services emerge as recommendations from the study.

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