Assessment of doctors' knowledge regarding tuberculosis management in Lucknow, India: a public-private sector comparison

N Vandan, M Ali, R Prasad, C Kuroiwa
Public Health 2009, 123 (7): 484-9

OBJECTIVE: India tops the list of 22 high-burden tuberculosis (TB) countries. India adopted directly observed treatment - short course (DOTS) under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) in 1992 and public-private mix DOTS in 2002. This study was conducted to assess the knowledge of doctors in the public and private sectors regarding TB control and management.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

METHODS: This study used a self-reported questionnaire based on the RNTCP technical and operational guidelines. One hundred and forty-one doctors were recruited through census sampling; all were registered with the Chest Physicians Association and treating TB using allopathic medicine. The list of doctors was obtained from Lucknow District TB Office, which annually updates and manages the members list of the Chest Physicians Association. This study was conducted in Lucknow, India in February-March 2007.

RESULTS: Of 141 doctors, 71% had specialized medical education for treating TB, 60% had received RNTCP training and 69% reported that they follow DOTS methodology for TB treatment. Fifty-six percent of doctors worked in the public sector and 44% worked in the private sector. Forty-nine percent of doctors working in the public sector and 53% working in the private sector correctly reported all TB symptoms as per the RNTCP guidelines. Sixty-six percent of doctors in the public sector and 39% in the private sector reported the correct technique for sputum sampling. Public sector doctors demonstrated better knowledge of drug regimens for sputum smear-positive and sputum smear-negative TB than private sector doctors. Statistical analysis indicated that doctors in the public sector had 2.1 times better knowledge than private sector doctors (odds ratio 2.1; P=0.05).

CONCLUSION: Health policy managers and DOTS implementers should encourage all doctors, particularly private sector doctors, to receive RNTCP training and follow DOTS methodology. Improvement is needed in RNTCP training, and emphasis needs to be given to correct diagnosis, management and follow-up of TB patients.

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