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Health Res Policy Syst. 2009 Jul 28;7:19. doi: 10.1186/1478-4505-7-19.

Public and/or private health care: tuberculosis patients' perspectives in Myanmar.

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Department of Medical Research (Lower Myanmar), Yangon, Myanmar.



Tuberculosis is a major public health problem in Myanmar as in other developing countries. About 73% of TB patients seek care at private general practitioners' clinics before presenting to the public TB centre, raising questions about how best to prevent transmission and maintain treatment regimens.


The study was conducted in two townships in Yangon Division in Myanmar in 2004, and examined treatment seeking behaviour of TB patients and their views towards public and private health care services. This was an exploratory descriptive study. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were employed in data collection from TB patients, health care professionals, and members of various agencies involved in TB Control Programme.


A considerable delay was found between the onset of symptoms of TB and seeking treatment (five days - two months). General practitioners were the first point of contact in all cases. Old TB patients influenced the treatment seeking behaviour and choice of treatment clinics of new TB patients. Most patients viewed the public health sector as a place to obtain free treatment and the private sector as a fee-paying, convenient and better place to seek treatment.


The involvement of private general practitioners is crucial for effective TB control in Myanmar. The selection of GPs for partnership with the public sector is vital to the success of public-private partnership in controlling TB.

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