Public-private mix for tuberculosis care and control: a systematic review

Int J Infect Dis. 2015 May;34:20-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2015.02.015. Epub 2015 Feb 23.


Background: Public-private mix (PPM), recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), was introduced to cope with the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic worldwide. In many developing countries, PPM has played a powerful role in TB control, while in others it has failed to meet expectations. Thus we performed a systematic review to determine the mechanisms used by global PPM programs implemented in different countries and to evaluate their performance.

Methods: A comprehensive search of the current literature for original studies published up to May 2014 was done using electronic databases and online resources; these publications were then screened using rigorous criteria. Descriptive information and evaluative outcomes data were extracted from eligible studies for synthesis and analysis.

Results: A total of 78 eligible studies were included in the final review. These assessed 48 PPM TB programs worldwide, subsequently categorized into three mechanisms based on collaborative characteristics: support, contract, and multi-partner group. Furthermore, we assessed the effectiveness of PPM programs against six health system themes, including utilization of the directly observed treatment strategy (DOTS), case detection, treatment outcomes, case management, costs, and access and equity, under the different collaborative mechanisms. Analysis of the comparative studies suggested that PPM could improve overall outcomes of a TB service, and multiple collaborative mechanisms may significantly promote case detection, treatment, referral, and service accessibility, especially in resource-limited areas. However, the less positive outcomes of several programs indicated limited funding and poor governance to be the predominant reasons.

Conclusions: PPM is a promising strategy to strengthen global TB care and control, but is affected by contextual characteristics in different areas. The scaling-up of PPM should contain essential commonalities, particularly substantial financial support and continuous material input. Additionally, it is important to improve program governance and training for the health providers involved, through integrated collaborative mechanisms.

Keywords: Mechanism; Performance; Public–private mix; Tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Developing Countries
  • Directly Observed Therapy
  • Humans
  • Private Sector*
  • Public Sector*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology*
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control*
  • World Health Organization