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Factors influencing job preferences of health workers providing obstetric care: results from discrete choice experiments in Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania

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  • Eilish McAuliffe
  • Marie Galligan
  • Paul Revill
  • Francis Kamwendo
  • Mohsin Sidat
  • Honorati Masanja
  • Helen de Pinho
  • Edson Araujo


Publication details

JournalGlobalization and Health
DateAccepted/In press - 23 Nov 2016
DatePublished (current) - 20 Dec 2016
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)86
Original languageEnglish


BACKGROUND: Task shifting from established health professionals to mid-level providers (MLPs) (professionals who undergo shorter training in specific procedures) is one key strategy for reducing maternal and neonatal deaths. This has resulted in a growth in cadre types providing obstetric care in low and middle-income countries. Little is known about the relative importance of the different factors in determining motivation and retention amongst these cadres.

METHODS: This paper presents findings from large sample (1972 respondents) discrete choice experiments to examine the employment preferences of obstetric care workers across three east African countries.

RESULTS: The strongest predictors of job choice were access to continuing professional development and the presence of functioning human resources management (transparent, accountable and consistent systems for staff support, supervision and appraisal). Consistent with similar works we find pay and allowances significantly positively related to utility, but financial rewards are not as fundamental a factor underlying employment preferences as many may have previously believed. Location (urban vs rural) had the smallest average effect on utility for job choice in all three countries.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings are important in the context where efforts to address the human resources crisis have focused primarily on increasing salaries and incentives, as well as providing allowances to work in rural areas.

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s), 2016

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