Effectiveness of four interventions in improving community health workers' performance in western Kenya: a quasi-experimental difference-in-differences study using a longitudinal data

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Primary health care research & development






community health worker; effectiveness; financial incentive; nonfinancial incentive; performance; supervision; training


BACKGROUND: Community health workers (CHWs) are up-front health workers delivering the most effective life-saving health services to communities. They are the key driver to achieve Universal Health Coverage. However, maintaining CHWs' performance is one of the challenges in sustaining their effectiveness. This article assessed the effectiveness of the four interventions and their combinations on the CHWs' performance in terms of health knowledge, job satisfaction, and household coverage. METHODS: We used the longitudinal survey data collected in western Kenya. Our study participants were the representative of all CHWs working in the four districts, Kenya. The four types of interventions were composed of a basic core intervention (i.e., refresher training with/without defaulter tracing) and three supplementary interventions (i.e., provision of a bicycle, frequent supportive supervision, and financial incentives). We performed the three fixed-effect models to assess the effectiveness of the four interventions and their combinations on the three performance indicators. RESULTS: Three single and combination interventions significantly increased CHWs' health knowledge: refresher training only [Coef.: 48.43, 95% CI: 42.09-54.76, P < 0.001]; refresher training plus defaulter-tracing [Coef.: 38.80, 95% CI: 32.71-44.90, P < 0.001]; combination of refresher training plus defaulter-tracing and frequent supervision [Coef.: 17.02, 95% CI: 7.90-26.15, P < 0.001]. Financial support was the only intervention that significantly increased job satisfaction among CHWs [Coef.: 4.97, 95% CI: 0.20-9.75, P = 0.041]. There was no single intervention that significantly increased household coverage. Yet, the combinations of the interventions significantly increased household coverage. CONCLUSIONS: There was no single intervention to improve all the aspects of CHWs' performance. The refresher training significantly improved their health knowledge, while financial incentive enhanced the level of their job satisfaction. The combinations of regular refresher training and other intervention(s) are the recommended as the effective interventions in improving and further sustaining CHWs' performance.


Global Health