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Free Content Public and private providers' quality of care for tuberculosis patients in Kampala, Uganda

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SETTING: The role of the private sector in tuberculosis treatment in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa is largely unknown. In recent years, many fee-for-service clinics have opened up in Kampala, Uganda. Little is known about the tuberculosis caseload seen in private clinics or the standard of care provided to the patients.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the appropriateness of tuberculosis care in private and public clinics, and the extent of the tuberculosis burden handled in the private sector.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey in private and public clinics treating tuberculosis patients in Kampala, Uganda, during June to August 1999.

MEASUREMENTS: Clinics were evaluated for appropriateness of care. This was defined as provision of proper diagnosis (sputum smear microscopy as the primary means of diagnosis), treatment (short-course chemotherapy, with or without directly observed therapy), outcome evaluation (smear microscopy at 6 or 7 months) and case notification in accordance with the Uganda National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme.

RESULTS: A total of 114 clinics (104 private, 10 public) were surveyed. Forty-one per cent of the private clinics saw three or more new tuberculosis patients each month. None of the public or private clinics met all standards for appropriate tuberculosis care. Only 24% of all clinics adhered to WHO-recommended treatment guidelines. Public clinics, younger practitioners and practitioners with advanced degrees were most likely to provide appropriate care for tuberculosis.

CONCLUSION: The private sector cares for many tuberculosis cases in Kampala; however, a new programme that offers continuing medical education is needed to improve tuberculosis care and to increase awareness of national guidelines for tuberculosis care.
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Keywords: diagnosis; private provider; quality of care; treatment; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Uganda National Tuberculosis/Leprosy Program, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda 2: Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA 3: Tuberculosis Research Unit, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA 4: Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Tuberculosis Research Unit, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Publication date: 2001-11-01

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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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