Free Content A survey of prescribing patterns for tuberculosis treatment amongst doctors in a Bolivian city

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Abstract:

SETTING: A sample survey of knowledge about prescribing tuberculosis treatment among private physicians in the city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

OBJECTIVES: To study the anti-tuberculosis regimens prescribed by private physicians and to assess the number of tuberculosis patients treated by them.

DESIGN: Questionnaire survey of a random sample of 401 private physicians in Santa Cruz.

RESULTS: Of the 401 physicians, 165 (41%) could not be located or did not want to participate. Among the 236 completed questionnaires, 137 physicians (58%) stated that they did not see patients with tuberculosis, 16 (7%) referred them to other centres and 83 (35%) treated them in their practice. Among 80 prescribed regimens that could be evaluated there were 58 different regimens: 17 (21%) followed the National Tuberculosis Control Programme's standard regimen, but overall 35 regimens (60%) were incorrect—18 regimens (31%) were non-curative and 17 (29%) could not be recommended. Frequent errors were the prescription of medications not available in the market (7%) or not included in the national regimen (34%), the prescription of insufficient medications (9%), or of only one in the continuation phase (16%), or for too short (9%), or too long (12%) a period. Eighty physicians estimated that they attended in their practice an average total of 404 patients with tuberculosis per month.

CONCLUSIONS: A significant number of physicians in private practice did not adhere to the standard norms for prescribing anti-tuberculosis treatment. This study also suggests that in the city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, there is a not insignificant number of patients with tuberculosis treated outside the National Tuberculosis Control Programme.

Keywords: Bolivia; physicians; prescribing; treatment; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: German Leprosy Relief Association (DAHW), Santa Cruz, Bolivia 2: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Maternal and Child Epidemiology Unit, London, UK 3: Universidad Católica Boliviana, Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Publication date: January 1, 1999

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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