Satisfaction, motivation, and intent to stay among Ugandan physicians: a survey from 18 national hospitals

Int J Health Plann Manage. 2011 Jan-Mar;26(1):2-17. doi: 10.1002/hpm.1036.


Objective: Uganda faces a colossal shortages of human resources for health. Previous literature has largely focused on those who leave. This paper reports on a study of physicians working in 18 public and private facilities in Uganda as part of a larger study of more than 641 hospital-based health workers in Uganda. We report what could entice physicians to stay longer, satisfaction with current positions, and future career intentions.

Methods: This study took place in 18 Ugandan hospitals. We describe the 49 physicians who participated in 11 focus groups and the 63 physicians who completed questionnaires, out of a larger sample of 641 health workers overall.

Findings: Only 37% of physicians said they were satisfied with their jobs, and 46% reported they were at risk of leaving the health sector or the country. After compensation, the largest contributors to dissatisfaction among physicians were quality of management, availability of equipment and supplies (including drugs), quality of facility infrastructure, staffing and workload, political influence, community location, and professional development.

Conclusion: Physicians in our study were highly dissatisfied, with almost half the sample reporting a risk to leave the sector or the country. The established link in literature between physician dissatisfaction and departure from the health system suggests national and regional policy makers should consider interventions that address the contributors to dissatisfaction identified in our study.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Career Mobility
  • Demography
  • Environment
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / supply & distribution
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Personnel Turnover
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Physicians / supply & distribution
  • Politics
  • Professional Practice Location
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uganda
  • Water Supply
  • Workload