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Successful recruitment and retention strategies for women health volunteers: viewpoints of the volunteers' supervisors and relevant researchers

Authors Rezakhani Moghaddam H, Allahverdipour H, Matlabi H

Received 17 July 2018

Accepted for publication 21 August 2018

Published 26 October 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 621—634


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Hamed Rezakhani Moghaddam, Hamid Allahverdipour, Hossein Matlabi

Department of Health Education and Promotion, Faculty of Health Sciences, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

Women health volunteers (WHVs) are a link between people and healthcare workers. Despite their key role in promoting community health, strategies are rarely designed to keep them volunteering. The aim of this research was to find successful strategies to overcome barriers to recruitment and retention of the volunteers in assigned activities.
Subjects and methods: A three-round online national Delphi technique was used to ask the opinions of Iranian health volunteers’ supervisors and the relevant researchers. At the first round, the participants were asked ten open-ended questions across four barriers: inadequate capability of the volunteers and trainers, inadequate acceptance of the volunteers, restrictive social norms, and organizational problems. At the second round, with the questionnaire consisting of closed-ended questions, the experts were asked to rank the feasibility of each strategy using a seven-point Likert scale. Items along with the feedback received from the second round were included in the third-round questionnaire. Strategies with a median of 6 or higher and with an interquartile range ≤1 were regarded to be feasible.
Results: Consensus was obtained on 100 of the 133 strategies. A mixture of improving group work, implementing motivation tactics, assessing the needs of people/WHVs, reforming policy, monitoring and evaluation of WHVs/trainers, mobilizing the community, empowering WHVs/trainers, rationalizing WHVs/trainers/ people, improving intersectional collaboration, implementing problem-based approaches, allocating proper resources, appropriate recruitment of WHVs, using social networks, and information dissemination were found to be the effective strategies to overcome the barriers to active participation.
Conclusion: The highest consensuses among experts were on implementing motivation tactics and mobilizing the community. It seems that community mobilization, incentives, and logistical supplies such as providing prizes and transportation facilities for volunteers are mechanisms that can help retain WHVs and also overcome barriers to their active participation.

Keywords: health volunteers, Delphi technique, consensus, community health, retention strategies

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