Incentives management among health workers in primary health-care facilities: addressing important issues in rural Ghana

Eunice Okyere, Paul Russell Ward, Kissinger Marfoh, Lillian Mwanri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: This study seeks to explore health workers' perceptions and experiences on incentives for motivating and retaining them in primary health-care facilities in rural Ghana. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: Phenomenological research design was used to explore health workers' experiences and perceptions on their incentive packages. Sixty-eight in-depth interviews were conducted with health-care workers in primary health-care facilities and analyzed using thematic analysis approach. FINDINGS: The findings show health-care workers' perceptions on their incentives, ranging from low awareness, unfair distribution, favoritism, means of punishment and incentives regarded unattractive. The preferred incentive packages identified were salary increase, housing availability, recognition, adequate supplies, and risk and responsibility allowances. Health-care workers suggested for the modification of incentives including vehicle importation waiver, reduction in study leave years and opportunity to pursue desired courses. ORIGINALITY/VALUE: The findings suggest that incentives that align with health-care workers' preferences can potentially improve their motivation and influence retention. Health-care workers' concern on incentives having been used as favors and punishment as well as unfair distribution should be addressed by health managers and policymakers, to achieve the desired purpose of motivating and retaining them in rural areas. Appropriate internal monitoring mechanisms are needed for incentives regulation and to improve health workers' retention in rural Ghana.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of health organization and management
Issue numberaheadofprint
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2022


  • Health workers’
  • Incentives
  • Management
  • Motivation
  • Phenomenology
  • Qualitative research
  • Retention
  • Rural Ghana


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