Predictors of health worker performance after Integrated Management of Childhood Illness training in Benin: a cohort study
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Predictors of health worker performance after Integrated Management of Childhood Illness training in Benin: a cohort study

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      BMC Health Serv Res
    • Description:

      Correct treatment of potentially life-threatening illnesses (PLTIs) in children under 5 years, such as malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea, can substantially reduce mortality. The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) strategy has been shown to improve treatment of child illnesses, but multiple studies have shown that gaps in health worker performance remain after training. To better understand factors related to health worker performance, we analyzed 9,330 patient consultations in Benin from 2001–2002, after training one of the first cohorts of 32 health workers in IMCI.


      With data abstracted from patient registers specially designed for IMCI-trained health workers, we examined associations between health facility-, health worker-, and patient-level factors and 10 case-management outcomes for PLTIs.


      Altogether, 63.6 % of children received treatment for all their PLTIs in accordance with IMCI guidelines, and 77.8 % received life-saving treatment (i.e., clinically effective treatment, even if not exactly in accordance with IMCI guidelines). Performance of individual health workers varied greatly, from 15–88 % of patients treated correctly, on average. Multivariate regression analyses identified several factors that might have influenced case-management quality, many outside a manager’s direct control. Younger health workers significantly outperformed older ones, and infants received better care than older children. Children with danger signs, those with more complex illnesses, and those with anemia received worse care. Health worker supervision was associated with improved performance for some outcomes.


      A variety of factors, some outside the direct control of program managers, can influence health worker practices. An understanding of these influences can help inform the development of strategies to improve performance.

      Electronic supplementary material

      The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12913-015-0910-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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