Why they leave: A phenomenological study on midwives working in Ghana

Describes a study of the reasons Ghanian midwives who chose to remain in their home country rather than emigrate to more resourced countries.  


Low and middle-income countries face challenges with retention of healthcare personnel including midwives, primarily because of migration to other countries. Repercussions from the loss of healthcare workers have been grave and the impact on healthcare services for the inhabitants is consequently compromised. Since many such countries subsidize the education of healthcare workers, the monies spent do not provide the expected return on investment. While some studies review the cause of such migrations, limited research explore the views of healthcare workers who choose to stay and work in the countries that educated them and no such studies have explored the views of midwives in particular.

The aim of this transcendental phenomenological study was to explore the views and motivations of Ghanaian-educated midwives who have chosen to remain and practice in Ghana. The study was conducted in 2015 among twelve purposively sampled Ghanaian educated midwives from a hospital in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, to explore their views about staying to work in the country, in view of what may have inspired their counterparts to leave. Data was analyzed using NVivo 10® (QSR, 2014).

The findings identified one key theme around their reasons for remaining in Ghana. Five additional themes amplified and extended the reasons and all themes provided guidance for addressing retention issues in Ghana. Context-specific recommendations were made with a focus on midwifery leadership, policy makers, stakeholders and the main professional regulatory body to address the exodus of midwives in Ghana and other LMICs.

This publication has been peer reviewed.
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Abigail Kyei and Barbara Carnes
Year of Publication: 
Journal, Book, Magazine or Other Publication Title: 
Numid Horizon: An International Journal for Nursing and Midwifery
Vol 1
Fall 2017
Date Published: 
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Place Published: 
Publication Language: 
ISSN Number: 
ISBN Number: 
Boyer's Domain: 

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