Suspected tuberculosis case detection and referral in private pharmacies in Viet Nam

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2012 Dec;16(12):1625-9. doi: 10.5588/ijtld.12.0295.


Settings: Private pharmacies in Hanoi, Viet Nam.

Objectives: To explore the response of health care providers (HCPs) in private pharmacies to suspected tuberculosis (TB) patients.

Methods: A simulated patient method combined with an interview in 128 randomly selected private pharmacies and 10 private pharmacies near TB hospitals.

Results: In the simulated patient method and interview, respectively 59 (46%) and 70 (55%) of HCPs referred the TB suspect to general health care. Only 11 (9%) referred the simulated patient to a TB care facility. Fifty-two (42%) of the HCPs identified suspected TB from a fictitious case described on paper; 34 (27%) were aware that free treatment was provided under the National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP). Knowledge about free NTP treatment predicted a higher rate of direct referrals to TB facilities (OR 5.80, 95%CI 1.88-19.62) and greater ability to identify suspected TB from a fictitious case on paper (OR 5.14, 95%CI 2.36-11.73). Pharmacies with Good Pharmacy Practice (GPP) certification were less likely to refer simulated patients to TB facilities than non-GPP pharmacies (OR 0.10, 95%CI ≤0.01-0.79).

Conclusions: Nearly half of HCPs in private pharmacies do not refer TB suspects, possibly contributing to delays in diagnosis and treatment. Knowledge about free NTP treatment predicted better performance of HCPs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Awareness
  • Community Pharmacy Services*
  • Delayed Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Hospitals, Chronic Disease*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • National Health Programs
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Simulation
  • Pharmacists / psychology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Private Sector*
  • Professional Competence*
  • Prognosis
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology
  • Vietnam
  • Young Adult


  • Antitubercular Agents