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Hum Resour Health. 2014 Feb 17;12:11. doi: 10.1186/1478-4491-12-11.

Job satisfaction and retention of health-care providers in Afghanistan and Malawi.

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  • 1Jhpiego/USA, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, 1615 Thames St,, Baltimore, MD, USA.



This study describes job satisfaction and intention to stay on the job among primary health-care providers in countries with distinctly different human resources crises, Afghanistan and Malawi.


Using a cross-sectional design, we enrolled 87 health-care providers in 32 primary health-care facilities in Afghanistan and 360 providers in 10 regional hospitals in Malawi. The study questionnaire was used to assess job satisfaction, intention to stay on the job and five features of the workplace environment: resources, performance recognition, financial compensation, training opportunities and safety. Descriptive analyses, exploratory factor analyses for scale development, bivariate correlation analyses and bivariate and multiple linear regression analyses were conducted.


The multivariate model for Afghanistan, with demographic, background and work environment variables, explained 23.9% of variance in job satisfaction (F(9,73) = 5.08; P < 0.01). However, none of the work environment variables were significantly related to job satisfaction. The multivariate model for intention to stay for Afghanistan explained 23.6% of variance (F(8,74) = 4.10; P < 0.01). Those with high scores for recognition were more likely to have higher intention to stay (β = 0.328, P < 0.05). However, being paid an appropriate salary was negatively related to intent to stay (β = -0.326, P < 0.01). For Malawi, the overall model explained only 9.8% of variance in job satisfaction (F(8,332) = 4.19; P < 0.01) and 9.1% of variance in intention to stay (F(10,330) = 3.57; P < 0.01).


The construction of concepts of health-care worker satisfaction and intention to stay on the job are highly dependent on the local context. Although health-care workers in both Afghanistan and Malawi reported satisfaction with their jobs, the predictors of satisfaction, and the extent to which those predictors explained variations in job satisfaction and intention to stay on the job, differed substantially. These findings demonstrate the need for more detailed comparative human resources for health-care research, particularly regarding the relative importance of different determinants of job satisfaction and intention to stay in different contexts and the effectiveness of interventions designed to improve health-care worker performance and retention.

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