Factors associated with participation of private medical practitioners in integrated disease surveillance in Butaleja District
Isabirye, Fredrick Daniel
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Background: Communicable diseases are the commonest cause of morbidity and mortality in the developing world, and their proper control requires effective surveillance. Although Private Health Practitioners (PHPs) attend to large number of patients and are potential sources of surveillance data, their participation in Integrated Disease Surveillance (IDS) has not been well studied. Objective: This study investigated factors associated with participation of Private Practitioners in IDS in Butaleja District Methods: A cross sectional study employing both quantitative and qualitative data methods of data collection was conducted in Butaleja District. A semi structured questionnaire was used to get quantitative data from 109 managers and service providers of private clinics and key informant interviews were conducted among three DHT members and one representative of the PHPs that were purposively selected. Results: The mean (SD) age was 32.3 (9.7) years, duration in clinical service was 7.1 (6.6) years. Factors that were significantly associated with participation in IDS included private practice working experience of >5 years (P<0.001), knowledge on HMIS and IDS (P=0.016), knowledge on diseases of public health importance (P=0.04), use of registers (P=0.0001), availability of reference materials on IDS (P<0.001), and a positive attitude toward participation in IDS (P=0.001). Conclusion: Private Health Practitioners exhibited low levels of knowledge on the priority diseases under surveillance and very few had received training in Integrated Disease Surveillance system. All the respondents were willing to participate in IDS activities with government support. Unregistered private practitioners were less likely to participate in IDS than registered counterparts. Recommendations: District administration should ensure registration of all drug shops and clinics. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) should be organized to improve on knowledge on IDS among private health practitioners. Logistics should be provided to private health practitioners with regular supervision.