Understanding health worker incentives in post-crisis settings: lessons from health worker in-depth interviews and life histories in Zimbabwe

Abstract

The decade-long economic, social and political crisis in Zimbabwe continues to affect health service delivery in the post crisis period. The availability of human resources for health (HRH) in the right numbers, at the right time and place, with the appropriate skills mix and willing to stay in their jobs is a critical aspect of health service delivery. The main goal of this project is to understand the post-crisis dynamics for HRH and ultimately how to reach and maintain incentive environments for health workers, in order to support access to affordable, appropriate and equitable health services. This report focused on the results of in-depth interviews with 35 health workers in three districts, using a life history tool for older health workers to understand the lived experiences of staff during and after the crisis. It is concluded that the motivation to join the health workforce is determined by individual level considerations which differ by gender. The most common motivating factors were calling, passion, desire to help people, proximity to health facilities, the nurses’ uniform, family influence and role models. Economic factors including earning a salary on enrolment as a trainee and the guarantee of getting employed on completion were major attractions. The freezing of posts will make the guarantee of immediate employment after training obsolete as a motivating factor. The issue of retention is a very important aspect for health workers and should be well explained. Questions about the quality of nursing graduates have been raised because of the unavailability of experienced professionals to provide mentorship to the trainees and the selection processes for training places.

Citation

Chirwa, Y.; Mashange, W.; Chandiwana, P.; Buzuzi, S.; Munyati, S.; Witter, S. Understanding health worker incentives in post-crisis settings: lessons from health worker in-depth interviews and life histories in Zimbabwe. ReBUILD Research Programme Consortium, (2015) [Research Report No. 17]

Understanding health worker incentives in post-crisis settings: lessons from health worker in-depth interviews and life histories in Zimbabwe

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