Enhanced Private Sector Engagement for Tuberculosis Diagnosis and Reporting through an Intermediary Agency in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.
ABSTRACT: Under-detection and -reporting in the private sector constitute a major barrier in Viet Nam's fight to end tuberculosis (TB). Effective private-sector engagement requires innovative approaches. We established an intermediary agency that incentivized private providers in two districts of Ho Chi Minh City to refer persons with presumptive TB and share data of unreported TB treatment from July 2017 to March 2019. We subsidized chest x-ray screening and Xpert MTB/RIF testing, and supported test logistics, recording, and reporting. Among 393 participating private providers, 32.1% (126/393) referred at least one symptomatic person, and 3.6% (14/393) reported TB patients treated in their practice. In total, the study identified 1203 people with TB through private provider engagement. Of these, 7.6% (91/1203) were referred for treatment in government facilities. The referrals led to a post-intervention increase of +8.5% in All Forms TB notifications in the intervention districts. The remaining 92.4% (1112/1203) of identified people with TB elected private-sector treatment and were not notified to the NTP. Had this private TB treatment been included in official notifications, the increase in All Forms TB notifications would have been +68.3%. Our evaluation showed that an intermediary agency model can potentially engage private providers in Viet Nam to notify many people with TB who are not being captured by the current system. This could have a substantial impact on transparency into disease burden and contribute significantly to the progress towards ending TB.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:India contributes approximately 25% of the 'missing' cases of tuberculosis (TB) globally. Even though ~50% of patients with TB are diagnosed and treated within India's private sector, few are notified to the public healthcare system. India's TB notification policy mandates that all patients with TB are notified through Nikshay (TB notification portal). We undertook this study in a private hospital to assess the proportion notified and factors affecting TB notifications. We explored barriers and probable solutions to TB notification qualitatively from health provider's perspective. STUDY SETTING:Private, tertiary care, teaching hospital in Bengaluru, South India. METHODOLOGY:This was a mixed-methods study. Quantitative component comprised a retrospective review of hospital records between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2017 to determine TB notifications. The qualitative component comprised key informant interviews and focus groups to elicit the barriers and facilitators of TB notification. RESULTS:Of 3820 patients diagnosed and treated, 885 (23.2%) were notified. Notifications of sputum smear-positive patients were significantly more likely, while notifications of children were less likely. Qualitative analysis yielded themes reflecting the barriers to TB notification and their solutions. Themes related to barriers were: (1) basic diagnostic procedures and treatment promote notification; (2) misconceptions regarding notification and its process are common among healthcare providers; (3) despite a national notification system other factors have prevented notification of all patients; and (4) establishing hospital systems for notification will go a long way in improving notifications. CONCLUSIONS:The proportion of patients with TB notified by the hospital was low. A comprehensive approach both by the hospital management and the national TB programme is necessary for improving notification. This includes improving awareness among healthcare providers about the requirement for TB notifications, establishing a single notification portal in hospital, digitally linking hospital records to Nikshay and designating one person to be responsible for notification.
Project description:BackgroundTo achieve the WHO End TB Strategy targets, it is necessary to detect and treat more people with active TB early. Scale–up of active case finding (ACF) may be one strategy to achieve that goal. Given human resource constraints in the health systems of most high TB burden countries, volunteer community health workers (CHW) have been widely used to economically scale up TB ACF. However, more evidence is needed on the most cost-effective compensation models for these CHWs and their potential impact on case finding to inform optimal scale-up policies.MethodsWe conducted a two-year, controlled intervention study in 12 districts of Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. We engaged CHWs as salaried employees (3 districts) or incentivized volunteers (3 districts) to conduct ACF among contacts of people with TB and urban priority groups. Eligible persons were asked to attend health services for radiographic screening and rapid molecular diagnosis or smear microscopy. Individuals diagnosed with TB were linked to appropriate care. Six districts providing routine NTP care served as control area. We evaluated additional cases notified and conducted comparative interrupted time series (ITS) analyses to assess the impact of ACF by human resource model on TB case notifications.ResultsWe verbally screened 321,020 persons in the community, of whom 70,439 were eligible for testing and 1138 of them started TB treatment. ACF activities resulted in a?+?15.9% [95% CI: +?15.0%, +?16.7%] rise in All Forms TB notifications in the intervention areas compared to control areas. The ITS analyses detected significant positive post-intervention trend differences in All Forms TB notification rates between the intervention and control areas (p =?0.001), as well as between the employee and volunteer human resource models (p =?0.021).ConclusionsBoth salaried and volunteer CHW human resource models demonstrated additionality in case notifications compared to routine case finding by the government TB program. The salaried employee CHW model achieved a greater impact on notifications and should be prioritized for scale-up, given sufficient resources.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Private providers dominate health care in India and provide most tuberculosis (TB) care. Yet efforts to engage private providers were viewed as unsustainably expensive. Three private provider engagement pilots were implemented in Patna, Mumbai and Mehsana in 2014 based on the recommendations in the National Strategic Plan for TB Control, 2012-17. These pilots sought to improve diagnosis and treatment of TB and increase case notifications by offering free drugs and diagnostics for patients who sought care among private providers, and monetary incentives for providers in one of the pilots. As these pilots demonstrated much higher levels of effectiveness than previously documented, we sought to understand program implementation costs and predict costs for their national scale-up. METHODS AND FINDINGS:We developed a common cost structure across these three pilots comprising fixed and variable cost components. We conducted a retrospective, activity-based costing analysis using programmatic data and qualitative interviews with the respective program managers. We estimated the average recurring costs per TB case at different levels of program scale for the three pilots. We used these cost estimates to calculate the budget required for a national scale up of such pilots. The average cost per privately-notified TB case for Patna, Mumbai and Mehsana was estimated to be US$95, US$110 and US$50, respectively, in May 2016 when these pilots were estimated to cover 50%, 36% and 100% of the total private TB patients, respectively. For Patna and Mumbai pilots, the average cost per case at full scale, i.e. 100% coverage of private TB patients, was projected to be US$91 and US$101, respectively. In comparison, the national TB program's budget for 2015 averages out to $150 per notified TB case. The total annual additional budget for a national scale up of these pilots was estimated to be US$267 million. CONCLUSIONS:As India seeks to eliminate TB, extensive national engagement of private providers will be required. The cost per privately-notified TB case from these pilots is comparable to that already being spent by the public sector and to the projected cost per privately-notified TB case required to achieve national scale-up of these pilots. With additional funds expected to execute against national TB elimination commitments, the scale-up costs of these operationally viable and effective private provider engagement pilots are likely to be financially viable.
Project description:Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of infectious disease deaths worldwide and is the leading cause of death among people with HIV. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for collaboration between public and private healthcare providers to maximize integration of TB/HIV services and minimize costs. We systematically reviewed published models of public-private sector diagnostic and referral services for TB/HIV co-infected patients.We searched PubMed, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Google Scholar, Science Direct, CINAHL and Web of Science. We included studies that discussed programs that linked private and public providers for TB/HIV concurrent diagnostic and referral services and used Review Manager (Version 5.3, 2015) for meta-analysis.We found 1,218 unduplicated potentially relevant articles and abstracts; three met our eligibility criteria. All three described public-private TB/HIV diagnostic/referral services with varying degrees of integration. In Kenya private practitioners were able to test for both TB and HIV and offer state-subsidized TB medication, but they could not provide state-subsidized antiretroviral therapy (ART) to co-infected patients. In India private practitioners not contractually engaged with the public sector offered TB/HIV services inconsistently and on a subjective basis. Those partnered with the state, however, could test for both TB and HIV and offer state-subsidized medications. In Nigeria some private providers had access to both state-subsidized medications and diagnostic tests; others required patients to pay out-of-pocket for testing and/or treatment. In a meta-analysis of the two quantitative reports, TB patients who sought care in the public sector were almost twice as likely to have been tested for HIV than TB patients who sought care in the private sector (risk ratio [RR] 1.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.88-2.08). However, HIV-infected TB patients who sought care in the public sector were marginally less likely to initiate ART than TB patients who sought care from private providers (RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.78-1.03).These three studies are examples of public-private TB/HIV service delivery and can potentially serve as models for integrated TB/HIV care systems. Successful public-private diagnostic and treatment services can both improve outcomes and decrease costs for patients co-infected with HIV and TB.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In India, men are more likely than women to have active tuberculosis but are less likely to be diagnosed and notified to national tuberculosis programmes. We used data from standardised patient visits to assess whether these gender differences occur because of provider practice. METHODS:We sent standardised patients (people recruited from local populations and trained to portray a scripted medical condition to health-care providers) to present four tuberculosis case scenarios to private health-care providers in the cities of Mumbai and Patna. Sampling and weighting allowed for city representative interpretation. Because standardised patients were assigned to providers by a field team blinded to this study, we did balance and placebo regression tests to confirm standardised patients were assigned by gender as good as randomly. Then, by use of linear and logistic regression, we assessed correct case management, our primary outcome, and other dimensions of care by standardised patient gender. FINDINGS:Between Nov 21, 2014, and Aug 21, 2015, 2602 clinical interactions at 1203 private facilities were completed by 24 standardised patients (16 men, eight women). We found standardised patients were assigned to providers as good as randomly. We found no differences in correct management by patient gender (odds ratio 1·05; 95% CI 0·76-1·45; p=0·77) and no differences across gender within any case scenario, setting, provider gender, or provider qualification. INTERPRETATION:Systematic differences in quality of care are unlikely to be a cause of the observed under-representation of men in tuberculosis notifications in the private sector in urban India. FUNDING:Grand Challenges Canada, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank Knowledge for Change Program.
Project description:India has announced a goal of universal access to quality tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis and treatment. A number of novel diagnostics could help meet this important goal. The rollout of one such diagnostic, Xpert MTB/RIF (Xpert) is being considered, but if Xpert is used mainly for people with HIV or high risk of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) in the public sector, population-level impact may be limited.We developed a model of TB transmission, care-seeking behavior, and diagnostic/treatment practices in India and explored the impact of six different rollout strategies. Providing Xpert to 40% of public-sector patients with HIV or prior TB treatment (similar to current national strategy) reduced TB incidence by 0.2% (95% uncertainty range [UR]: -1.4%, 1.7%) and MDR-TB incidence by 2.4% (95% UR: -5.2%, 9.1%) relative to existing practice but required 2,500 additional MDR-TB treatments and 60 four-module GeneXpert systems at maximum capacity. Further including 20% of unselected symptomatic individuals in the public sector required 700 systems and reduced incidence by 2.1% (95% UR: 0.5%, 3.9%); a similar approach involving qualified private providers (providers who have received at least some training in allopathic or non-allopathic medicine) reduced incidence by 6.0% (95% UR: 3.9%, 7.9%) with similar resource outlay, but only if high treatment success was assured. Engaging 20% of all private-sector providers (qualified and informal [providers with no formal medical training]) had the greatest impact (14.1% reduction, 95% UR: 10.6%, 16.9%), but required >2,200 systems and reliable treatment referral. Improving referrals from informal providers for smear-based diagnosis in the public sector (without Xpert rollout) had substantially greater impact (6.3% reduction) than Xpert scale-up within the public sector. These findings are subject to substantial uncertainty regarding private-sector treatment patterns, patient care-seeking behavior, symptoms, and infectiousness over time; these uncertainties should be addressed by future research.The impact of new diagnostics for TB control in India depends on implementation within the complex, fragmented health-care system. Transformative strategies will require private/informal-sector engagement, adequate referral systems, improved treatment quality, and substantial resources. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
Project description:Effective infectious disease control requires early diagnosis and treatment initiation. Point-of-care testing offers rapid turn-around-times, facilitating same day clinical management decisions. To maximize the benefits of such POC testing programs, we need to understand how rapid tests are used in everyday clinical practice.In this cross-sectional survey study, 400 primary healthcare providers in two cities in South Africa were interviewed on their use of rapid tests in general, and tuberculosis diagnostic practices, between September 2012 and June 2013. Public healthcare facilities were selected using probability-sampling techniques and private healthcare providers were randomly selected from the Health Professional Council of South Africa list. To ascertain differences between the two healthcare sectors 2-sample z-tests were used to compare sample proportions.The numbers of providers interviewed were equally distributed between the public (n = 200) and private sector (n = 200). The most frequently reported tests in the private sector include blood pressure (99.5%), glucose finger prick (89.5%) and urine dipstick (38.5%); and in the public sector were pregnancy (100%), urine dipstick (100%), blood pressure (100%), glucose finger prick (99%) and HIV rapid test (98%). The majority of TB testing occurs in the public sector, where significantly more providers prefer Xpert MTB/RIF assay, the designated clinical TB diagnostic tool by the national TB program, as compared to the private sector (87% versus 71%, p-value >0.0001). Challenges with regard to TB diagnosis included the long laboratory turn-around-time, difficulty in obtaining sputum samples and lost results. All providers indicated that a new POC test for TB should be rapid and cheap, have good sensitivity and specificity, ease of sample acquisition, detect drug-resistance and work in HIV-infected persons.The existing centralized laboratory services, poor quality assurance, and lack of staff capacity deter the use of more rapid tests at POC. Further research into the practices and choices of these providers is necessary to aid the development of new POC tests.
Project description:We sought to understand gaps in reporting childhood TB cases among public and private sector health facilities (dubbed "non-NTP" facilities) outside the network of national TB control programmes, and the resulting impact of under-reporting on estimates of paediatric disease burden and market demand for new medicines.Exploratory assessments were carried out in Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan, reaching a range of facility types in two selected areas of each country. Record reviews and interviews of healthcare providers were carried out to assess numbers of unreported paediatric TB cases, diagnostic pathways followed and treatment regimens prescribed.A total of 985 unreported diagnosed paediatric TB cases were identified over a three month period in 2013 in Indonesia from 64 facilities, 463 in Pakistan from 35 facilities and 24 in Nigeria from 20 facilities. These represent an absolute additional annualised yield to 2013 notifications reported to WHO of 15% for Indonesia, 2% for Nigeria and 7% for Pakistan. Only 12% of all facilities provided age and sex-disaggregated data. Findings highlight the challenges of confirming childhood TB. Diagnosis patterns in Nigeria highlight a very low suspicion for childhood TB. Providers note the need for paediatric medicines aligned to WHO recommendations.This study emphasises the impact of incomplete reporting on the estimation of disease burden and potential market size of paediatric TB medicines. Further studies on "hubs" (facilities treating large numbers of childhood TB cases) will improve our understanding of the epidemic, support introduction efforts for new treatments and better measure markets for new paediatric medicines.
Project description:BACKGROUND:India has the highest burden of tuberculosis (TB). Although most patients with TB in India seek care from the private sector, there is limited evidence on quality of TB care or its correlates. Following our validation study on the standardized patient (SP) method for TB, we utilized SPs to examine quality of adult TB care among health providers with different qualifications in 2 Indian cities. METHODS AND FINDINGS:During 2014-2017, pilot programs engaged the private health sector to improve TB management in Mumbai and Patna. Nested within these projects, to obtain representative, baseline measures of quality of TB care at the city level, we recruited 24 adults to be SPs. They were trained to portray 4 TB "case scenarios" representing various stages of disease and diagnostic progression. Between November 2014 and August 2015, the SPs visited representatively sampled private providers stratified by qualification: (1) allopathic providers with Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degrees or higher and (2) non-MBBS providers with alternative medicine, minimal, or no qualifications. Our main outcome was case-specific correct management benchmarked against the Standards for TB Care in India (STCI). Using ANOVA, we assessed variation in correct management and quality outcomes across (a) cities, (b) qualifications, and (c) case scenarios. Additionally, 2 micro-experiments identified sources of variation: first, quality in the presence of diagnostic test results certainty and second, provider consistency for different patients presenting the same case. A total of 2,652 SP-provider interactions across 1,203 health facilities were analyzed. Based on our sampling strategy and after removing 50 micro-experiment interactions, 2,602 interactions were weighted for city-representative interpretation. After weighting, the 473 Patna providers receiving SPs represent 3,179 eligible providers in Patna; in Mumbai, the 730 providers represent 7,115 eligible providers. Correct management was observed in 959 out of 2,602 interactions (37%; 35% weighted; 95% CI 32%-37%), primarily from referrals and ordering chest X-rays (CXRs). Unnecessary medicines were given to nearly all SPs, and antibiotic use was common. Anti-TB drugs were prescribed in 118 interactions (4.5%; 5% weighted), of which 45 were given in the case in which such treatment is considered correct management. MBBS and more qualified providers had higher odds of correctly managing cases than non-MBBS providers (odds ratio [OR] 2.80; 95% CI 2.05-3.82; p < 0.0001). Mumbai non-MBBS providers had higher odds of correct management than non-MBBS in Patna (OR 1.79; 95% CI 1.06-3.03), and MBBS providers' quality of care did not vary between cities (OR 1.15; 95% CI 0.79-1.68; p = 0.4642). In the micro-experiments, improving diagnostic certainty had a positive effect on correct management but not across all quality dimensions. Also, providers delivered idiosyncratically consistent care, repeating all observed actions, including mistakes, approximately 75% of the time. The SP method has limitations: it cannot account for patient mix or care-management practices reflecting more than one patient-provider interaction. CONCLUSIONS:Quality of TB care is suboptimal and variable in urban India's private health sector. Addressing this is critical for India's plans to end TB by 2025. For the first time, we have rich measures on representative levels of care quality from 2 cities, which can inform private-sector TB interventions and quality-improvement efforts.
Project description:Despite being a recognized standard of tuberculosis (TB) care internationally, mandatory TB case notification brings forth challenges from the private sector. Only three TB cases were notified in 2013 by private practitioners compared to 2000 TB cases notified yearly from the public sector in Alappuzha district. The study objective was to explore the knowledge, opinion and barriers regarding TB Notification among private practitioners offering TB services in Alappuzha, Kerala state, India.This was a mixed-methods study with quantitative (survey) and qualitative components conducted between December 2013 and July 2014. The survey, using a structured questionnaire, among 169 private practitioners revealed that 88% were aware of mandatory notification. All patient-related details requested in the notification form (except government-issued identification number) were perceived to be important and easy to provide by more than 80% of practitioners. While more than 95% felt that notification should be mandatory, punitive action in case of failure to notify was considered unnecessary by almost two third. General practitioners (98%) were more likely to be aware of notification than specialists (84 %). (P<0.01). Qualitative purposive personal interviews (n=34) were carried out among private practitioners and public health providers. On thematic framework analysis of the responses, barriers to TB notification were grouped into three themes: 'private provider misconceptions about notification', 'patient confidentiality, and stigma and discrimination 'and 'lack of cohesion and coordination between public and private sector'. Private practitioners did not consider it necessary to notify TB cases treated with daily regimen.Communication strategies like training, timely dissemination of information of policy changes and one-to-one dialogue with private practitioners to dispel misconceptions may enhance TB notification. Trust building strategies like providing feedback about referred cases from private sector, health personnel visit or a liaison private doctor may ensure compliance to public health activities.