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Rural Remote Health. 2010 Jul-Sep;10(3):1420. Epub 2010 Sep 14.

Attracting and retaining doctors in rural Nepal.

Author information

1
KIST Medical College, Imadol, Lalitpur, Nepal. ravi.dr.shankar@gmail.com

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

In Nepal, a number of private sector medical schools have opened recently; although sufficient numbers of doctors are graduating there continues to be a doctor shortage in rural areas. This article analysed the rural doctor shortage in Nepal and reviewed the international literature for strategies that may be suitable for use in Nepal.

METHODS:

Original research articles, reviews, magazine articles and project reports dealing with Nepal and other developing countries during the period 1995 to 2010 were sourced via Google, Google Scholar and Pubmed. Full text access was obtained via WHO's HINARI database.

RESULTS:

The health workforce in Nepal is unevenly distributed resulting in doctor shortages in rural areas. The recent introduction of mandatory rural service for scholarship students was aimed to reduce the loss of medical graduates to developed nations. High tuition fees in private medical schools and low Government wages prevent recent graduates from taking up rural positions, and those who do face many challenges. Potential corrective strategies include community-based medical education, selecting rural-background medical students, and providing a partial or complete tuition fee waiver for medical students who commit to rural service. Traditional healers and paramedical staff can also be trained for and authorized to provide rural health care.

CONCLUSIONS:

A range of strategies developed elsewhere could be used in Nepal, especially community-oriented medical education that involves rural doctors in training medical students. The reimbursement of tuition fees, assistance with relocation, and provision of opportunities for academic and professional advancement for rural doctors should also be considered. Government investment in improving working conditions in rural Nepal would assist rural communities to attract and retain doctors.

PMID:
20839900
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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