public-private partnerships

This article assessed private sector accredited drug dispensing outlets in Morogoro and pharmacies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to determine (1) the level of knowledge about tuberculosis (TB) among dispensers in Tanzania's retail pharmaceutical sector; (2) practices related to identification of patients with suspected TB; (3) the availability of educational materials and training; and (4) the availability of first- and second-line anti-tuberculosis treatment in retail drug outlets. Private retail drug outlets are convenient; most are open at least 12 h per day, 7 days/week. Although 95% of dispensers identified persistent cough as a symptom of TB, only 1% had received TB-related training in the previous 3 years; 8% of outlets stocked first-line anti-tuberculosis medicines, which are legally prohibited from being sold at retail outlets. The majority of respondents reported seeing clients with TB-like symptoms, and of these 95% reported frequently referring clients to nearby health facilities. Private retail pharmaceutical outlets can potentially contribute to TB case detection and treatment; however, a coordinated effort is needed to train dispensers and implement appropriate referral procedures.

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