Quality Improvement Teams Make a Difference

In Benin, community health workers are a valued for the role they play in the health care system, where they perform high-impact interventions to treat childhood illnesses and offer health education activities for the community. Yet, motivating and retaining community health workers has long posed a challenge to the Ministry of Health.

In 2010, the MOH implemented a policy of performance-based financial incentives for community health workers.  But evidence had shown that money alone is sufficient to motivate and retain these essential members of the health care system. As part of the USAID-funded Partnership for Community Management of Child Health project, the Center for Human Services (CHS), URC’s nonprofit affiliate, set out to investigate whether community-level quality improvement collaboratives, in addition to the performance-based financial incentives, would improve performance and retention of CHWs more effectively than financial incentives alone.

CHS facilitated the formation of 32 community-based quality improvement teams in the intervention zone to help improve health workers’ performance. The project’s operations research brief, "Can the Addition of a Quality Improvement Collaborative Improve Performance and Retention of Community Health Workers in Benin?" reports on the study’s methodology, results, and recommendations. The study's findings were promising: community health workers who participated in the combined intervention were more likely to achieve a high performance score during the study period than those who received only financial incentives. In addition, community support and engagement proved to be a key determinant of high community health worker performance.

Focus group with mothers of children under 5.
Date 
February 25, 2015
Authors 
Christina Zola, Communications Specialist
Regions/ Countries