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1.  Attracting and retaining health workers in rural areas: investigating nurses’ views on rural posts and policy interventions 
BMC Health Services Research  2010;10(Suppl 1):S1.
Background
Kenya has bold plans for scaling up priority interventions nationwide, but faces major human resource challenges, with a lack of skilled workers especially in the most disadvantaged rural areas.
Methods
We investigated reasons for poor recruitment and retention in rural areas and potential policy interventions through quantitative and qualitative data collection with nursing trainees. We interviewed 345 trainees from four purposively selected Medical Training Colleges (MTCs) (166 pre-service and 179 upgrading trainees with prior work experience). Each interviewee completed a self-administered questionnaire including likert scale responses to statements about rural areas and interventions, and focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted at each MTC.
Results
Likert scale responses indicated mixed perceptions of both living and working in rural areas, with a range of positive, negative and indifferent views expressed on average across different statements. The analysis showed that attitudes to working in rural areas were significantly positively affected by being older, but negatively affected by being an upgrading student. Attitudes to living in rural areas were significantly positively affected by being a student at the MTC furthest from Nairobi.
During FGDs trainees raised both positive and negative aspects of rural life. Positive aspects included lower costs of living and more autonomy at work. Negative issues included poor infrastructure, inadequate education facilities and opportunities, higher workloads, and inadequate supplies and supervision. Particular concern was expressed about working in communities dominated by other tribes, reflecting Kenya’s recent election-related violence.
Quantitative and qualitative data indicated that students believed several strategies could improve rural recruitment and retention, with particular emphasis on substantial rural allowances and the ability to choose their rural location. Other interventions highlighted included provision of decent housing, and more rapid career advancement. However, recently introduced short term contracts in named locations were not favoured due to their lack of pension plans and job security.
Conclusions
This study identified a range of potential interventions to increase rural recruitment and retention, with those most favored by nursing students being additional rural allowances, and allowing choice of rural location. Greater investment is needed in information systems to evaluate the impact of such policies.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-S1-S1
PMCID: PMC2895745  PMID: 20594367
2.  Are hospitals prepared to support newborn survival? – An evaluation of eight first-referral level hospitals in Kenya 
Background:
Newborn mortality in poor parts of the world remains unacceptably high. Basic hospital care may be an important component of attempts to save newborn lives but little is known about the capacity of such facilities to provide essential care to ill newborns.
Objective:
To assess the availability of resources that support the provision of basic neonatal care in eight first-referral level (district) hospitals in Kenya.
Methods:
We selected two hospitals each from four of Kenya's eight provinces with the aim of representing the diversity of this part of the health system in Kenya. We also created a checklist of 53 indicator items necessary for providing essential basic care to newborns and assessed their availability at each of the eight hospitals by direct observation. We compared our observations with the opinions of health workers providing care to newborns on recent availability for some items, using a self-administered structured questionnaire.
Findings:
The hospitals surveyed were often unable to maintain a safe hygienic environment for patients and health care workers; staffing was insufficient and sometimes poorly organised to support the provision of care; some key equipment, laboratory tests, drugs and consumables were not available while patient management guidelines were missing in all sites.
Conclusion:
Hospitals appear relatively poorly prepared to fill their proposed role in ensuring newborn survival. More effective interventions are needed to improve them to meet the special needs of this at-risk group.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-3156.2009.02358.x
PMCID: PMC2751740  PMID: 19695001
3.  Are hospitals prepared to support newborn survival? – an evaluation of eight first-referral level hospitals in Kenya* 
Objective
To assess the availability of resources that support the provision of basic neonatal care in eight first-referral level (district) hospitals in Kenya.
Methods
We selected two hospitals each from four of Kenya’s eight provinces with the aim of representing the diversity of this part of the health system in Kenya. We created a checklist of 53 indicator items necessary for providing essential basic care to newborns and assessed their availability at each of the eight hospitals by direct observation, and then compared our observations with the opinions of health workers providing care to newborns on recent availability for some items, using a self-administered structured questionnaire.
Results
The hospitals surveyed were often unable to maintain a safe hygienic environment for patients and health care workers; staffing was insufficient and sometimes poorly organised to support the provision of care; some key equipment, laboratory tests, drugs and consumables were not available while patient management guidelines were missing in all sites.
Conclusion
Hospitals appear relatively poorly prepared to fill their proposed role in ensuring newborn survival. More effective interventions are needed to improve them to meet the special needs of this at-risk group.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-3156.2009.02358.x
PMCID: PMC2751740  PMID: 19695001
neonatal care; hospitals; Kenya; observational study

Results 1-3 (3)