Academic staff recruitment and retention challenges at the University of Botswana medical school

  • M Kebaetse
  • GG Mokone
  • L Badlangana
  • L Mazhani


Background. Sub-Saharan Africa has a greater share of the global burden of disease, poverty, and inadequate human resources for health compared with other regions of the world. Botswana, like other regional countries, is failing to successfully recruit and retain academics at its medical school.
Objectives. To document the medical school’s staff recruitment and retention trends and challenges, and to propose possible solutions.
Methods. This was a descriptive research study involving review and analysis of the University of Botswana medical school’s staff number targets, actual numbers on post, and other relevant publicly available university documents. The numbers and country of origin of staff recruited from 2008 to 2013 were recorded. Net staff gain or loss per year was then calculated. Student numbers were analysed and related to staff availability. As there was a multilevel change in university management in 2011, the periods and events before and after April 2011 were analysed. Publicly available University of Botswana documents about the university’s organisational structure, policies, and processes were reviewed.
Results. Over a 5-year period, the school recruited 74 academics worldwide; 30 of them left the school. Retention was a greater challenge than recruitment. The school had difficulty recruiting locals and senior academics, regardless of specialty. It  appears that staff loss occurred regardless of country of origin.
Conclusion. The authors suggest that multilevel change in management was one of the most likely contributors to the school’s recruitment and retention challenges. The University of Botswana must comprehensively address these.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135