Stakeholders’ perceptions on shortage of healthcare workers in Primary Healthcare in Botswana: focus group discussions

Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa



An adequate health workforce force is central to universal health coverage and positive public health outcomes. However many African countries have critical shortages of health-care workers, which are worse in primary healthcare. The aim of this study was to explore the perceptions of healthcare workers, policy makers and the community on the shortage of healthcare workers in Botswana.


Fifteen focus group discussions were conducted with three groups of policy makers, six groups of healthcare workers and six groups of community members in rural, urban and remote rural health districts of Botswana. All the participants were 18 years and older.Recruitment was purposive and the framework method was used to inductively analyze the data.


There was a perceived shortage of healthcare workers in primary healthcare, which was believed to result from an increased need for health services, inequitable distribution of healthcare workers, migration and too few such workers being trained. Migration was mainly the result of un favourable personal and family factors, weak and ineffective healthcare and human resources management, low salaries and inadequate incentives for rural and remotearea service.


Botswana has a perceived shortage of healthcare workers, which is worse in primary healthcare and rural areas, as a result of multiple complex factors. To address the scarcity the country should train adequate numbers of healthcare workers and distribute them equip-tably to sufficiently resourced healthcare facilities. They should be competently managed


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)