Understanding community health worker employment preferences in Malang district, Indonesia using a discrete choice experiment

Thomas Gadsden, Sujarwoto Sujarwoto, Nuretha Purwaningtyas, Asri Maharani, Gindo Tampubolon, Delvac Oceandy, Devarsetty Praveen, Blake Angell, Stephen Jan, Anna Palagyi

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Background: Community health workers (CHWs) play a critical role in supporting health systems, and in improving accessibility to primary health care. In many settings CHW programs do not have formalised employment models and face issues of high attrition and poor performance. This study aims to determine the employment preferences of CHWs in Malang district, Indonesia to inform policy interventions.
Methods: A discrete choice experiment (DCE) was conducted with 471 CHWs across 28 villages. Attributes relevant to CHW employment were identified through a multistage process including literature review, focus group discussions, and expert consultation. Respondents’ choices were analysed with a mixed multinomial logit model and latent class analyses.
Results: Five attributes were identified: 1) supervision; 2) training; 3) monthly financial benefit; 4) recognition; and 5) employment structure. The most important influence on choice of job was a low monthly financial benefit (~2 USD) (β = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.43 to 0.63), followed by recognition in the form of a performance feedback report (β = 0.13, 95% CI = 0.07 to 0.20). A large monthly financial benefit (~20 USD) was most unappealing to respondents (β = -0.13, 95% CI = -0.23 to -0.03). Latent class analysis identified two groups of CHWs who differed in their willingness to accept either job presented and preferences over specific attributes. Preferences diverged based on respondent characteristics including experience, hours’ worked per week and income.
Conclusion: CHWs in Malang district, Indonesia favour a small monthly financial benefit which likely reflects the unique cultural values underpinning the program and a desire for remuneration that is commensurate with the limited number of hours worked. CHWs also desire enhanced methods of performance feedback and greater structure around training and their rights and responsibilities. Fulfilling these conditions may become increasingly important should CHWs work longer hours.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Global Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Digital Futures
  • Global Development Institute


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