Community Health Worker Incentives in Malawi: ​Lessons Learned

In order for governments and organizations to adopt, implement, and scale up community health programs, knowledge of the wide typology of Community Health Worker (CHW) models and their associated incentive mechanisms is critical. It is equally important for policy makers and program implementers to understand the impact of program design factors, like incentives, and how they may contribute to optimal CHW performance and the achievement of sustained health impact. To better understand the impact of financial and non-financial incentives on CHW performance and retention in Africa, the African Strategies for Health (ASH) project undertook a literature review and in-depth studies in two countries, Malawi and Madagascar.

Malawi was selected as one of the two countries because of its national cadre of government-funded CHWs, as well as the array of incentives currently being used by community health programs. This technical brief presents key findings and recommendations based on research conducted in Malawi.