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Free Content Private pharmacies and tuberculosis control: a survey of case detection skills and reported anti-tuberculosis drug dispensing in private pharmacies in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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SETTING: Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam.

OBJECTIVES: To assess knowledge about tuberculosis, to describe self-reported dispensing practices and to estimate the magnitude of anti-tuberculosis drug dispensing in private pharmacies.

DESIGN: Survey of a random sample of 147 private pharmacies out of a total of 1814 registered pharmacies. Interviews were carried out based on a structured questionnaire.

RESULTS: Eighteen per cent of interviewees identified TB as a possible diagnosis for a fictitious case with fever and cough for 4 weeks. Fifty-eight per cent reported selling anti-tuberculosis drugs often or sometimes. Interviewees estimated that 1.3 persons on average (95%CI 0.6–1.9) had bought anti-tuberculosis drugs during the last 4-week period, and that 24% of them had bought anti-tuberculosis drugs without a prescription.

CONCLUSION: We have estimated that between 1100 and 3400 persons buy anti-tuberculosis drugs each month in the 1814 registered private pharmacies in HCMC, that about a quarter of them do so without a prescription, and that at least 40% of all anti-tuberculosis drug dispensing in HCMC occurs in the private sector. Regulations need to be put in place urgently and collaboration strengthened between the strong National Tuberculosis Programme and the unorganised private sector in HCMC.
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Keywords: Vietnam; dispensing practices; private pharmacies; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Social Medicine, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden; and Nordic School of Public Health, Göteborg, Sweden 2: Royal Netherlands Tuberculosis Association (KNCV), The Netherlands 3: Pham Ngoc Thach TB and Lung Disease Center, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 4: Nordic School of Public Health, Göteborg, Sweden; and Division of International Health (IHCAR), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: 01 November 2000

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  • 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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