Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

How well can physicians manage Tuberculosis? A Public-Private sector comparison from Karachi, Pakistan

Maliha Naseer1*, Ali Khawaja2, Amin S Pethani3 and Salik Aleem4

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Environmental Health Sciences, Department of Community Health, Sciences, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Stadium Road, P.O. Box-3500, Karachi (74800), Pakistan

2 Medical College, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Stadium Road, P.O. Box-3500, Karachi (74800), Pakistan

3 Department of Community Health Sciences, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Stadium Road, P.O. Box-3500, Karachi (74800), Pakistan

4 Medical College, Ziauddin Medical University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan

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BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:439  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-439

Published: 25 October 2013

Abstract

Background

Tuberculosis (TB) is endemic in Pakistan which ranks fifth amongst the twenty two countries designated to be highly burdened by TB according to the World Health Organization. However, there is paucity of data regarding the knowledge of diagnosis of TB and its management amongst public and private practitioners. In this study, we endeavor to identify this gap in knowledge regarding the diagnosis and management of TB between public and private doctors and the factors affecting these knowledge scores in urban Pakistan.

Methods

This cross sectional survey was conducted between June and December 2011. Doctors from public hospitals, private hospitals and private clinics scattered in all eighteen towns of Karachi were included in the study. Qualified MBBS doctors working in any specialty were eligible to participate whereas doctors working in both the public and private sectors were excluded from the study. Vignette based clinical scenarios were given to assess the knowledge score regarding the diagnosis and management of TB.

Results

A total of 196 doctors participated in the study. There was a significant difference between private and public physicians in terms of age and years of practice (p-value <0.05). Significant differences in the proportion of knowledge scores were observed between the public and private doctors and National TB Control Program trained and untrained doctors in Karachi. Factors associated with inadequate knowledge scores were being female gender [OR: 2.76 (95% CI: 1.418-5.384)], private employment status [OR: 1.50 (95% CI: 1.258-2.439)], and not trained by NTP [OR: 2.98 (95% CI: 1.286-3.225)] on multivariate logistic regression analysis.

Conclusion

It is concluded that a knowledge gap exists between the public and private doctors in Karachi. Strengthening of currently implemented public private mix model along with improvement in the trainings of public and private practitioners is highly recommended to control TB in Pakistan.

Keywords:
Public private mix; TB-DOTS; Pakistan; NTP