Motivation of human resources for health: a case study at rural district level in Tanzania

Int J Health Plann Manage. Oct-Dec 2012;27(4):327-47. doi: 10.1002/hpm.2117. Epub 2012 Jun 20.


An increasing number of studies explore the association between financial and non-financial incentives and the retention of health workers in developing countries. This study aims to contribute to empirical evidence on human resource for health motivation factors to assist policy makers in promoting effective and realistic interventions. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in four rural Tanzanian districts to explore staff stability and health workers' motivation. Data were collected using qualitative and quantitative techniques, covering all levels and types of health facilities. Stability of staff was found to be quite high. Public institutions remained very attractive with better job security, salary and retirement benefits. Satisfaction over working conditions was very low owing to inadequate working equipment, work overload, lack of services, difficult environment, favouritism and 'empty promotions'. Positive incentives mentioned were support for career development and supportive supervision. Attracting new staff in rural areas appeared to be more difficult than retaining staff in place. The study concluded that strategies to better motivate health personnel should focus on adequate remuneration, positive working and living environment and supportive management. However, by multiplying health facilities, the latest Tanzanian human resource for health plan could jeopardize current positive results.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / organization & administration
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Personnel Turnover
  • Policy Making
  • Rural Health Services* / organization & administration
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits
  • Tanzania
  • Workforce