Purpose: The retention of health care workers in developing countries is a key component to reducing the current health care workforce crisis. The availability of postgraduate medical training in developing countries could be an appropriate adjunctive solution. The authors investigated factors that led obstetrics–gynecology (ob/gyn) residents at a university-based academic training program at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (Accra, Ghana) to stay in Ghana for training and explored why the residents expect to stay in (or leave) Ghana after training.
Method: In July 2006, the authors surveyed 20 residents and conducted semistructured interviews with a subset of 9 residents.
Results: Nineteen respondents (95%) reported they would have left Ghana if postgraduate training had not been available, 16 (80%) reported that becoming an ob/gyn specialist was important to them, 15 (75%) indicated that the program trained them to practice in Ghana, and 17 (85%) were certain they would stay in Ghana after completing the program. Both quantitative and qualitative data supported the idea that three factors contribute to the retention of ob/gyn physicians in Ghana: (1) the presence of a postgraduate training program in Ghana, (2) residents' commitment to serve the people of Ghana, and (3) residents' feelings that physicians can “make it” economically in Ghana.
Conclusions: Postgraduate training is an important contributor to the retention of physicians in country. Partnerships between academic health centers in developed and developing countries provide opportunities to address the global health care crisis in a significant and sustainable way.