Background: Early detection of smear positive TB cases by smear microscopy requires high level of suspicion of TB among primary care physicians. The objective of this study is to measure TB suspicion and knowledge among private and public sector general practitioners using clinical vignette-based survey and structured questionnaire.
Methods: Two questionnaires were distributed to both private and public GPs in Muscat Governorate. One questionnaire assessed demographic information of the respondent and had 10 short clinical vignettes of TB and non-TB cases. The second questionnaire had questions on knowledge of TB, its diagnosis, treatment, follow up and contact screening based on Ministry of Health policy. TB suspicion score and TB Knowledge score were computed and analyzed.
Results: A total of 257 GPs participated in the study of which 154 were private GPs. There was a significant difference between private and public GPs in terms of age, sex, duration of practice and nationality. Among all GPs, 37.7% considered TB as one of the three most likely diagnoses in all 5 TB clinical vignettes. Private GPs had statistically significantly lower TB suspicion and TB knowledge scores than public GPs.
Conclusion: In Oman, GPs appear to have low suspicion and poor knowledge of TB, particularly private GPs. To strengthen TB control program, there is a need to train GPs on TB identification and adopt a Private Public Mix (PPM) strategy for TB control.