A rural public-private partnership model in tuberculosis control in south India

R Balasubramanian, R Rajeswari, R D Vijayabhaskara, K Jaggarajamma, P G Gopi, V Chandrasekaran, P R Narayanan
International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 2006, 10 (12): 1380-5

SETTING: A rural tuberculosis (TB) unit in South India, 2001-2003.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate a rural public-private partnership model (PPPM) within the TB control programme (RNTCP).

DESIGN: All of the private practitioners trained in modern medicine (PPs, n = 52) and the private laboratories (PLs, n = 13) in the area were listed. The PPs underwent training about the RNTCP, and PL staff were trained in sputum microscopy. PPPM included referral of TB suspects to the smear microscopy centres (government or PLs) for diagnosis and treatment of patients as per RNTCP guidelines. Patients were back-referred to the PPs. The directly observed treatment providers and centres were chosen by the PPs in consultation with their patients. The case detection rate, cure rate and profile of patients referred by the PPs were compared with those of self-reported patients.

RESULTS: Of 489 TB suspects referred by the PPs, 24% were smear-positive compared to 10% of 15 278 self-reported patients (P < 0.001). Of 319 referred to PLs, 7% were smear-positive. The annual average case detection rate increased from 66 to 75 per 100 000 population. The cure rates of patients referred by the PPs were comparable to those of self-reported patients.

CONCLUSIONS: This rural PPPM is effective and does not require additional staff or any direct financial incentives.

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