Introduction: Engaging the private sector effectively has been considered as the single most important intervention required for Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP) to achieve the overall goal of universal access and early detection. This study attempts to identify the barriers and facilitators in the involvement of private practioners in signed schemes of RNTCP.
Materials and methods: Six focus group discussions - four among private sector doctors and two among RNTCP TB key workers and 10 key informant interviews were conducted. Themes were divided into private sector involvement in RNTCP, barriers for private sector involvement, facilitators for private sector involvement and suggestions for better PPP.
Results: General feel was that private sector involvement in RNTCP was increasing. Public sector at ground level has not really understood the need to engage the private sector. Lack of capacity for public sector staff to understand and deal with private sector, power relations and not taking hospital managements to trust emerged as important barriers for engagement while private sector doctors expressed concerns over patient confidentiality and patient choices, apprehension of losing patients, inability of program to keep commitments and timely payments, poor recognition to private sector, bureaucratic hurdles and cumbersome formalities. Building locally customised partnership schemes, behaviour change for PPP, building managerial capacity of Public sector to deal with private sector, presence of an interphase agency and quality control through a participatory body were important suggestions for improvement of PPP.
Conclusion: Strategies have to be formulated to customise partnership for private sector doctors using the flexibilities of the program. Strengthening PPP will be possible in presence of strong administrative will and the understanding that personal relationships are the best key to Public Private Partnerships.
Keywords: Private sector engagement; public–private partnership; qualitative design.