Perceptions of Private Medical Practitioners on Tuberculosis Notification: A Study from Chennai, South India

PLoS One. 2016 Jan 28;11(1):e0147579. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147579. eCollection 2016.


Background: The Government of India declared TB as a notifiable disease in 2012. There is a paucity of information on the government's mandatory TB notification order from the perspective of private medical practitioners (PPs).

Objective: To understand the awareness, perception and barriers on TB notification among PPs in Chennai, India.

Methods: Total of 190 PPs were approached in their clinics by trained field staff who collected data using a semi-structured and pre-coded questionnaire after getting informed consent. The data collected included PPs' specialization, TB management practices, awareness about the TB notification order, barriers in its implementation and their suggestions to improve notification.

Results: Of 190 PPs from varied specializations, 138 (73%) had diagnosed TB cases in the prior three months, of whom 78% referred these patients to government facilities. Of 138 PPs, 73% were aware of the order on mandatory TB notification, of whom 46 (33%) had ever notified a TB case. Of 120 PPs, 63% reported reasons for not notifying TB cases. The main reasons reported for not notifying were lack of time (50%), concerns regarding patients' confidentiality (24%) and fear of offending patients (11%). Of 145 PPs, 76% provided feedback about information they felt uncomfortable reporting during notification. PPs felt most uncomfortable reporting patient's government-issued Aadhar number (77%), followed by patient's phone number (37%) and residential address (26%). The preferred means of notification was through mobile phone communication (24%), SMS (18%) and e-mail (17%).

Conclusion: This study highlights that one-fourth of PPs were not aware of the TB notification order and not all those who were aware were notifying. While it is important to sensitize PPs on the importance of TB notification it is also important to understand the barriers faced by PPs and to make the process user-friendly in order to increase TB notification.

MeSH terms

  • Disease Notification
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Policy
  • India
  • Mandatory Reporting
  • Perception
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Private Practice
  • Truth Disclosure
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / epidemiology*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / psychology

Grants and funding

The authors have no support or funding to report.