Background: Public–private interface agency (PPIA) intervention models in Patna (E. India) and Mumbai (W. India) for pulmonary drug-sensitive (DS) tuberculosis (TB) patients were evaluated over 2 years after maturity to examine effect on reduction of patient pathways and retention. The models engaged private providers, diagnostic facilities and pharmacies into an effective network providing free diagnostic tests and treatment.
Methods: A population-based retrospective study was undertaken to assess effectiveness of the PPIA model in care pathways of 64 (Patna) and 86 (Mumbai) patients through in-depth interviews conducted within 6 months of initiation treatments to identify types and facilities accessed, duration to diagnosis and treatment. Median durations based on facilities accessed were statistically analysed. Comparisons were made with baseline values and endline pathways of patients accessing PPIA engaged/non-engaged facilities in private and public sectors.
Results: Compared to non-engaged facilities, persons accessing engaged facilities at first point-of-care had shorter pathways (Mumbai: 32 vs 43 days), (Patna: 15 vs 40 days). Duration for first care-seeking was considerably shorter for patients accessing PPIA in Patna and for both engaged and non-engaged private facilities in Mumbai (4 days). Whilst PPIA engaged facilities diagnosed more cases than others, the RNTCP in Mumbai provided diagnosis early. There was good retention of patients by PPIA-engaged (1 st) facilities (90% post-diagnosis in Patna) but this was affected by the hub-spoke referral system in Mumbai (13%). Second diagnosis is a common feature in Mumbai. The spoke-hub model in Mumbai contributed considerably to treatment delay; PPIA-engaged providers were better at retaining patients post treatment initiation 11/25 (44%).
Conclusion: PPIA-engaged facilities, accessed at onset, result in marked reduction in pathway durations. Such initiatives should engage a critical mass of competent providers, proximal investigation facilities with enhanced disease awareness and literacy efforts amongst communities. Patient movement should be minimized for early treatment and retention.