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"If the Big Fish are Doing It Then Why Not Me Down Here?": Informal Fee Payments and Reproductive Health Care Provider Motivation in Kenya.

Authors
  • Tumlinson, Katherine
  • Gichane, Margaret W
  • Curtis, Siân L
Type
Published Article
Journal
Studies in family planning
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2020
Volume
51
Issue
1
Pages
33–50
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/sifp.12107
PMID: 32043621
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Informal fees are payments made by patients to their health care provider that are over and above the official cost of services. Payments may be motivated by a combination of factors such as low supervision, weak sanctions, and inadequate provider salaries. The practice of soliciting informal fees from patients may result in restricted access to medical care and reduced care-seeking behavior among vulnerable populations. The objective of this study is to examine nuanced health care provider perspectives on informal fee payments solicited from reproductive health patients in Kenya. We conducted in-depth semistructured interviews in 2015-2016 among a sample of 20 public and private-sector Kenyan health care workers. Interviews were coded and analyzed using an iterative thematic approach. More than half of participants reported that solicitation of informal fees is common practice in health care facilities. Providers reported low public-sector wages were a primary driver of informal fee solicitation coupled with collusion among senior staff. Additionally, patients may be unaware that they are being asked to pay more than the official cost of services. Strategies for reducing this behavior include more adequate and timely remuneration within the public sector, educating patient populations of free or low-cost services, and evidence-based methods to increase provider motivation. © 2020 The Population Council, Inc.

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