Health Desk- 09 Dec 2020: Rural populations across the globe continue to face health, economic and social inequities. A major contributor to pervasive health inequalities in rural and remote areas is a shortage of available, appropriate and motivated health workers. Compounding this, the COVID-19 pandemic’s health, health systems and socio-economic impacts threaten to worsen the health outcomes of the more vulnerable rural populations.
Owing to partnership and the commitment and contributions of 35 reviewers with expertise in rural health workforce as researchers or practitioners. And to dialogue, notably at the Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Dublin in 2017 and the WONCA World Rural Health Conference in India in 2018.
The context and research base has greatly evolved since 2010 - over 100 new studies – across a wider array of health worker occupations and countries now form the evidence base. This larger evidence is critical to informing effective policy approaches to redress rural health workforce gaps.
The review also examines the recurring factors that influence attraction, development, recruitment, and retention of health workers in rural areas, emphasizing important considerations such context, occupation and career stage of workers which influence the outcomes of interventions.