Prescription pattern of Anti-TB drugs by private practitioners

An operational research study funded under Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme and State Health & Family Welfare Society-TB, Kerala (State H & FW -TB Society).

The Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) based on the internationally recommended DOTS strategy was initially implemented mainly through the network of health care facilities under the public health departments of the state governments. However studies have shown that the private sector is the first point of contact for more than half of the TB patients. Realizing the significant roles that the various health sectors could play in TB control, the RNTCP has established collaborations with a wide range of health care providers which have resulted in many unique models of Public- Private Mix (PPM) in RNTCP. Thus the PPM DOTS in India is a strategy to diagnose and treat TB patients under RNTCP utilizing a mix of different types of health care providers.

There exist a good number of private doctors who do offer RNTCP services to all their patients and do their best to convince the patients that RNTCP offers the best possible services for diagnosis and treatment, including uninterrupted quality controlled drugs for the patient. Despite this many of their patients opt for Private treatment. The reasons for this are poorly understood. A significant number of TB patients continue to receive non RNTCP drugs. Usually this is because the patients attend a facility which does not offer RNTCP services, like a private hospital where the doctors do not practice RNTCP. The reasons for this have been widely studied. However the factors responsible for a prescription of non-RNTCP Anti-TB drugs by private practitioners practicing RNTCP have not been properly studied. The study intends to capture the profile of TB patients opting private institutions for treatment and reasons for patient approaching a private hospital despite the RNTCP functioning so well in the public sector.