Motivation and incentive preferences of community health officers in Ghana: An economic behavioral experiment approach

On behalf of the EMBRACE Implementation Research Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Health worker shortage in rural areas is one of the biggest problems of the health sector in Ghana and many developing countries. This may be due to fewer incentives and support systems available to attract and retain health workers at the rural level. This study explored the willingness of community health officers (CHOs) to accept and hold rural and community job postings in Ghana. Methods: A discrete choice experiment was used to estimate the motivation and incentive preferences of CHOs in Ghana. All CHOs working in three Health and Demographic Surveillance System sites in Ghana, 200 in total, were interviewed between December 2012 and January 2013. Respondents were asked to choose from choice sets of job preferences. Four mixed logit models were used for the estimation. The first model considered (a) only the main effect. The other models included interaction terms for (b) gender, (c) number of children under 5 in the household, and (d) years worked at the same community. Moreover, a choice probability simulation was performed. Results: Mixed logit analyses of the data project a shorter time frame before study leave as the most important motivation for most CHOs (β 2.03; 95 % CI 1.69 to 2.36). This is also confirmed by the largest simulated choice probability (29.1 %). The interaction effect of the number of children was significant for education allowance for children (β 0.58; 95 % CI 0.24 to 0.93), salary increase (β 0.35; 95 % CI 0.03 to 0.67), and housing provision (β 0.16; 95 % CI -0.02 to 0.60). Male CHOs had a high affinity for early opportunity to go on study leave (β 0.78; 95 % CI -0.06 to 1.62). CHOs who had worked at the same place for a long time greatly valued salary increase (β 0.28; 95 % CI 0.09 to 0.47). Conclusions: To reduce health worker shortage in rural settings, policymakers could provide "needs-specific" motivational packages. They should include career development opportunities such as shorter period of work before study leave and financial policy in the form of salary increase to recruit and retain them.

Original languageEnglish
Article number53
JournalHuman Resources for Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 22 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Administration
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Motivation and incentive preferences of community health officers in Ghana: An economic behavioral experiment approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this