HCM CITY (VNS) — The inclusion of the private health sector in detecting cases of tuberculosis through a public-private mix (PPM) programme has had success in recent years.
As a result of successful PPM implementation, HCM City, Hai Phong, Can Tho and Nghe An Province are planning to expand implementation of the PPM referral model until the end of 2016.
The three cities and province will implement the PPM diagnosis or diagnosis/treatment models in selected private and non-national TB facilities.
In 2011, HCM City's TB control programme was provided technical assistance from Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) and funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in co-operation with the private health sector in the city's districts 8, Binh Tan, Thu Duc and Binh Chanh.
As a result, cases detected with positive sputum smears jumped by 19 per cent. These cases are highly contagious and can potentially transmit TB to the community.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Viet Nam ranks 12th out of 22 countries globally with a high rate of tuberculosis.
While the WHO estimated the prevalence of pulmonary TB cases confirmed by positive sputum smears at 89 per 100,000 in 2006, a national prevalence survey in 2007 suggested a rate of 1.6 times higher at 145 per 100,000.
More than 100,000 TB cases are detected and treated at health facilities nationwide each year, according to Tang Chi Thuong, deputy head of HCM City Department of Health. Of that number, 17,000 cases die from TB each year.
These data indicated that case-finding activities must be enhanced in order to increase the case detection rate, he said.
One of the biggest challenges for Viet Nam's National TB programmes was to find people with TB early so they could receive early TB treatment and help limit exposure to other people, Thuong said.
According to US Consul General Rena Bitter, creating strong links between the private and public sectors helped this innovative project engage hospitals and clinics at all levels that lie outside the formal TB system.
Between 2008 and 2010, PATH and USAID carried out the project in Hai Phong. Based on its success, the project was expanded to HCM City, Can Tho and Nghe An Province in 2011.
As of September, there were 1,125 PPM facilities participating in the PPM network, including 522 pharmacies, 571 private clinics and hospitals and 32 public non-national TB programme hospitals in three cities and one province.
The 1,125 PPM facilities identified 31,955 people with presumptive TB. The national TB programme facilities received and tested 21,191 people and diagnosed 3,501 of them with TB.
Of these people, 1,975 TB cases had positive sputum smears.
In addition, of those confirmed with TB, 2,938 were tested for HIV and 105 of them tested positive. —VNS