Motivation and satisfaction among community health workers administering rapid diagnostic tests for malaria in Western Kenya

Laura K Winn, Adriane Lesser, Diana Menya, Joy N Baumgartner, Joseph Kipkoech Kirui, Indrani Saran, Wendy Prudhomme-O'Meara
Journal of Global Health 2018, 8 (1): 010401

Background: The continued success of community case management (CCM) programs in low-resource settings depends on the ability of these programs to retain the community health workers (CHWs), many of whom are volunteers, and maintain their high-quality performance. This study aims to identify factors related to the motivation and satisfaction of CHWs working in a malaria CCM program in two sub-counties in Western Kenya.

Methods: We interviewed 70 CHWs who were trained to administer malaria rapid diagnostic tests as part of a broader study evaluating a malaria CCM program. We identified factors related to CHWs' motivation and their satisfaction with participation in the program, as well as the feasibility of program scale-up. We used principal components analysis to develop an overall CHW satisfaction score and assessed associations between this score and individual CHW characteristics as well as their experiences in the program.

Results: The majority of CHWs reported that they were motivated to perform their role in this malaria CCM program by a personal desire to help their community (69%). The most common challenge CHWs reported was a lack of community understanding about malaria diagnostic testing and CHWs' role in the program (39%). Most CHWs (89%) reported that their involvement in the diagnostic testing intervention had either a neutral or a net positive effect on their other CHW activities, including improving skills applicable to other tasks. CHWs who said they strongly agreed with the statement that their work with the malaria program was appreciated by the community had a 0.76 standard deviation (SD) increase in their overall satisfaction score (95% confidence interval CI = 0.10-1.24, P  = 0.03). Almost all CHWs (99%) strongly agreed that they wanted to continue their role in the malaria program.

Conclusions: Overall, CHWs reported high satisfaction with their role in community-based malaria diagnosis, though they faced challenges primarily related to community understanding and appreciation of the services they provided. CHWs' perceptions that the malaria program generally did not interfere with their other activities is encouraging for the sustainability and scale-up of similar CHW programs.

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