The relative importance of material and non-material incentives for community health workers: Evidence from a discrete choice experiment in Western Kenya.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Motivating community health workers (CHWs), many of whom are volunteers, is important for the sustainability of integrated community case management programs. Given the limited budgets of many of these programs, and the increasingly important role played by CHWs, it is crucial to not only identify important motivators driving their engagement, but also which incentives could have the greatest impact on CHW motivation in their role. In this study, we aimed to assess CHWs' relative preferences for material and non-material incentives. We conducted a discrete choice experiment (DCE) with 199 randomly selected CHWs, working in 32 communities in western Kenya, to measure the relative importance that CHWs place on different incentives. Each CHW completed a series of 10 choice tasks (8 random, 2 fixed), where they had to choose between two hypothetical positions that had varying levels of monthly mobile phone airtime, training, monthly transport bonus, community appreciation and health facility staff appreciation of their work. Data was analyzed using mixed logit models. CHWs' most preferred job characteristic was high levels of community appreciation for their work which was valued approximately equivalently to receiving a 2000 Kenya Shillings (~US $20) monthly transport allowance. These incentives were valued more than appreciation from health facility staff or trainings six times per year. This study demonstrates that investing in efforts to improve community members' knowledge and recognition of CHWs' contribution to community health may have a significant impact on CHWs' motivation and retention in their role.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Saran, I; Winn, L; Kipkoech Kirui, J; Menya, D; Prudhomme O'Meara, W

Published Date

  • February 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 246 /

Start / End Page

  • 112726 -

PubMed ID

  • 31869666

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-5347

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.112726


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England