Realist review and synthesis of retention studies for health workers in rural and remote areas
This report uses a realist review, which is a theory-based method, to address the questions of “why” and “how” certain rural retention interventions work better in some contexts and fail in others. Through applying a realist perspective to the review of these retention studies, a greater understanding is gained of the contextual factors and the main mechanisms that triggered the effects of retention strategies. The report provides strong support for the assertion that a bundle of retention strategies should be used in order to successfully attract and retain health workers in remote and rural areas. It also provides valuable recommendations for future studies and gives a better insight into why interventions that were effective in one setting may or may not produce similar results in another.