Huma Qureshi, Ambreen Arif, Ejaz Alam, Najma Qadir.
Integration of informal medical practitioners in DOTS implementation to improve case detection rate.
J Pak Med Assoc Jan ;60(1):33-7.

Objective: To integrate informal registered medical practitioners (IRMP) in Directly Observed Therapy Short Course (DOTS) implementation to improve case detection rate. Methods: This interventional study was conducted in the settlement area of Malir district whereas New Karachi was taken as control, between February to November 2005. All registered healthcare providers within 5 kilometer around Tuberculosis (TB) DOTS center Malir were included. New sputum positive and sputum direct smear negative cases of pulmonary Tuberculosis above 15 years residing in the catchments area were included as target population. Informal registered medical practitioners were trained for the referral of suspected cases to the TB DOTs center where three sputum samples were taken, and X-ray chest was done to confirm if sputum direct smear (D/S) was negative. Demographic data regarding age, gender, address, case number, onset of symptoms, treatment given, response, compliance to treatment was all collected. Results: Out of 64 health care providers there were a drop out of 6 leaving 58 informal registered medical practitioners (36 homeopathic/ 22 Hakims) who referred 54 cases, of these 16 cases were actual suspects. Two out of these 16 (12.5%) were Tuberculosis positive. One was Sputum D/S positive and the other sputum direct smear negative with X-ray chest positive. Comparison of data (Malir and New Karachi diagnostic center) showed that by incorporating homeopathic and Hakims an increase in the proportion of case identification (0.477) was significantly higher in Malir (intervention area) vs New Karachi (non-intervention area) (0.316). Conclusion: Integration of informal registered medical practitioners was found to be effective in DOTS implementation hence they can be incorporated in other national programmes to improve public health (JPMA 60:33; 2010).

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