Journal Article

Patterns of financial incentives in primary healthcare settings in Nigeria: Implications for the productivity of frontline health workers

Objective
This study was designed to explore the patterns of financial incentives received by some frontline health workers (including nurses, midwives as well as community health workers in paid employment) and the implications for their productivity within rural settings in Nigeria. A cross-sectional quantitative design in two States in Nigeria was adopted. Structured interviews were conducted with 114 frontline health workers. Bivariate analysis and multivariate regression analysis were carried out to explore relationships between the satisfaction of frontline health workers with the financial incentives received and their productivity in rural settings as well as the extent of any such relationships.

Results
Bivariate analysis demonstrated a statistically significant relationship (P = 0.013) between satisfaction with incentives received by frontline health workers and their productivity in rural settings. When other predictors were controlled for within a multivariate regression model, those who received incentives and were satisfied with the incentives were about three times more likely to be more productive at work than those who were unsatisfied with incentives (AOR: 3.3; P = 0.009, 95% CI = 1.3–8.2). In conclusion, the determination of type and content of incentives should be done in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including possibly a cross-section of health workers themselves.