Motivation to test, treat, and report malaria cases: a quantitative assessment among private sector providers in the Greater Mekong Subregion

Malar J. 2022 Mar 9;21(1):82. doi: 10.1186/s12936-022-04108-7.


Background: Accurately testing, treating, and tracking all malaria cases is critical to achieving elimination. Ensuring health providers are able and motivated to test, treat, and report cases is a necessary component of elimination programmes, and particularly challenging in low endemic settings where providers may not encounter a large volume of cases. This study aimed to understand provider motivations to test, treat, and report malaria cases to better optimize programme design, adjust incentive schemes, and ultimately improve reporting rates while growing the evidence base around private providers in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).

Methods: With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this study aimed to identify and validate distinctive subtypes of motivation among private sector providers enrolled in the Greater Mekong Subregion Elimination of Malaria through Surveillance (GEMS) programme, implemented by Population Services International. Quantitative questionnaires were administered electronically in person by trained enumerators to various provider groups in Myanmar, Lao PDR, and Vietnam. A three-stage confirmatory factor analysis was then conducted in STATA.

Results: Following this analysis, a two-factor solution that describes motivation in this population of providers was identified, and providers were scored on the two dimensions of motivation. The correlation between the two rotated factors was 0.3889, and the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy was 0.93, indicating an excellent level of suitability. These providers, who are often assumed to only be financially motivated, engaged in malaria elimination activities because of both internal and external motivational factors that are independent of remuneration or financial gain. For all three countries' data, significant covariances between the two latent variables for internal and external motivation were found. The models were found to be of adequate to good fit for the data across all three countries. It was determined that private sector providers, who were previously believed to be primarily financially motivated, were also motivated by personal factors. Motivation was also associated with key outcomes of importance to malaria elimination, such as reporting and stocking of tests and treatments.

Conclusion: Maintaining or increasing provider motivation to test and treat is essential in the fight to eliminate malaria from the GMS, as it helps to ensure that providers continue to pursue this goal, even in a low incidence environment where cases may be rare and in which providers face financial pressure to focus on areas of health service provision. Establishing mechanisms to better motivate providers through intrinsic factors is likely to have a substantive impact on the sustainability of malaria case management activities.

Keywords: Confirmatory factor analysis; Malaria; Malaria elimination; Private sector; Provider motivation.

MeSH terms

  • Case Management
  • Humans
  • Malaria* / diagnosis
  • Malaria* / epidemiology
  • Malaria* / prevention & control
  • Motivation*
  • Private Sector
  • Vietnam