Provider perceptions of pharmacy-initiated tuberculosis referral services in Cambodia, 2005-2010

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2012 Aug;16(8):1086-91. doi: 10.5588/ijtld.11.0669. Epub 2012 Jun 6.


Setting: Since 2005, private pharmacies linked to the National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP) and the Municipal Health Department in Phnom Penh have referred tuberculosis (TB) symptomatic patients to public sector TB clinics.

Objective: To investigate the attitudes and practices of pharmacy-initiated referral service providers in Phnom Penh from 2005 to 2010.

Methods: In a qualitative study, participants were purposively selected from the register of pharmacy owners providing referral services. Discussions were conducted in Khmer by trained facilitators. Participants discussed topics relating to their experiences and participation in the referral programme.

Results: In January 2011, 54 pharmacy owners participated in six focus group discussions held in Phnom Penh. Interpreted data showed consistency of message across all topics. The emergent themes-altruism, pragmatism and professionalism-underpinned owner commitment to programme goals. Issues associated with patient counselling, fear of infection and quality of care in public sector clinics were of concern to participants. Owners believed ongoing professional support, improved public sector patient care and media campaigns would strengthen their role.

Conclusion: Pharmacy outlets provide further options for NTPs engaging with private sector providers. Recognising private provider needs and aspirations may be an essential component of public/private mix programmes to meet public health goals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Altruism
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cambodia / epidemiology
  • Community Pharmacy Services*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Health Programs
  • Perception*
  • Pharmacists / psychology*
  • Private Sector
  • Professional Role
  • Program Evaluation
  • Public Sector
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Registries
  • Time Factors
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Antitubercular Agents