Performance of community health workers and associated factors in a rural community in Wakiso district, Uganda

Afr Health Sci. 2019 Sep;19(3):2784-2797. doi: 10.4314/ahs.v19i3.55.


Background: Community health workers (CHWs) continue to play a crucial role in supporting health service delivery globally. Several CHW programmes around the world face vast challenges which affect their performance.

Objectives: This study assessed the performance of CHWs and associated factors in a rural community in Wakiso district, Uganda.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study that employed a structured questionnaire to collect quantitative data from 201 CHWs in Wakiso district. The main study variable was CHW performance based on various roles carried out by CHWs. Multivariable logistic regression in STATA was used to establish the predictors of CHW performance.

Results: Only 40 (19.9%) of the CHWs had a high performance which was associated with having attended additional / refresher trainings [AOR=12.79 (95% CI: 1.02-159.26)], and having attained secondary level education and above [AOR=3.93 (95% CI: 1.17-13.24)]. CHWs who were married [AOR=0.29 (95% CI: 0.09-0.94)] were less likely to perform highly. Among CHWs who had received essential medicines for treatment of childhood illnesses, the majority 90.3% (112/124) had experienced stock-outs in the 6 months preceding the study. Despite the majority of CHWs, 198 (98.5%), stating that being motivated was very important in their work, only 91 (45%) said that they were motivated.

Conclusion: Additional / refresher trainings are necessary to enhance performance of CHWs. In addition, level of education should be considered while selecting CHWs. The health system challenges of low motivation of CHWs as well as stock-out of medicines need to be addressed to support their work.

Keywords: Community health workers; Uganda; motivation; performance; satisfaction; stock-outs; village health teams.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Success
  • Adult
  • Community Health Workers / education*
  • Community Health Workers / organization & administration*
  • Community Health Workers / standards
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drugs, Essential / supply & distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rural Population
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Uganda


  • Drugs, Essential