Support Us

Can Biometric Tracking of Attendance Reduce Health Worker Absenteeism?

Health & Psychology Uganda
Biometric machine in Uganda

A community health worker training on using biometric devices to log into work in Uganda. Credit: Aleksandra Jakubowski

Public servant absenteeism is a major barrier to delivering quality government services around the world, especially in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). In Uganda, the inefficiency created by health worker absenteeism costs the government nearly $7 million USD per year, and is thought to be the largest source of financial waste in the health sector (Okwero et al. 2010). Absenteeism reduces trust in healthcare system quality and dependability and exacerbates pervasive provider shortages in Uganda, especially in rural settings where provider to population ratios are extremely low.

To address the problem of absenteeism, the Office of Prime Minster (OPM) in Uganda has begun installing biometric machines to track health worker attendance. This study gathers nuanced data from healthcare workers and managers to assess their views about using biometric technology to track attendance, as well as ways in which the government could address their intrinsic motivations and the structural issues that contribute to absenteeism. Researchers interview 54 healthcare providers (6 doctors, 10 clinical officers, 4 lab technicians, 4 radiographers, 10 nurses, 10 midwives, and 10 facility managers) from facilities that have and have not used biometric technology, and 10 focus groups comprised of 6-12 providers each. Researchers also collect information from 18 key informants in district governments, in charge of payroll and managing the health workforce, about their views on absenteeism, biometric machines, and the use of rewards/sanctions to reinforce the technology (including District Health Officers, District Secretary for Health, and Health Unit Management Committee members).

Evidence from this study will provide the OPM with insights about the plausible effectiveness of using biometric technology to reduce absenteeism and will inform the design of behavioral interventions to be tested in a randomized experiment. Ultimately, researchers plan to test whether pairing the biometric technology with behavioral interventions identified through the qualitative interviews reduces health worker absenteeism.

Researchers
Partners
  • Office of the Prime Minister
  • Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU)
Status

Active

Funding

20,750

Start Date

October 2020

Share Now

Dan Posner on Bottom-Up Accountability in the Uganda Health Sector


News
Technology

Remote Monitoring of Competition Between Government Service Provides


research   |   Technology
Health & Psychology

Video: "Using biometrics to monitor healthcare worker attendance in Uganda" - Pius Akankwasa (E2A 2019)


resource   |   Health & Psychology
Institutions & Governance

Performance-Based Incentives in Multi-Layered Organizations


research   |   Institutions & Governance
Global NetworksHealth & Psychology

ORS Use in Uganda


research   |   Health & Psychology
Institutions & Governance

Sharing Strategies, Sharing Solutions: A Policy Institute for Innovations in Public Services


event   |   Institutions & Governance
Global Networks

Working With Community Health Workers to Increase Use of ORS and Zinc to Treat Child Diarrhea In Uganda: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial


resource

Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved

Design & Dev by Wonderland Collective