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Factors influencing private health providers' technical quality of care for acute respiratory infections among under-five children in rural West Bengal, India



Factors influencing private health providers' technical quality of care for acute respiratory infections among under-five children in rural West Bengal, India



Social Science and Medicine 55(9): 1579-1587



In many developing countries, private health practitioners provide a significant portion of curative care for diseases which are of public health importance. Currently, health sector reform efforts in these countries are fostering increased participation of private providers in the delivery of health services, including those of public health importance. Guaranteeing good technical quality of care is critical to the process. However, little is known about private providers' technical quality of care (disease management practices) and the factors influencing these services. The purpose of this study was to contribute information on this topic. The study was conducted among private providers in rural West Bengal, India and focused on providers' disease management practices for acute respiratory infections (ARI) among under-five children. World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for ARI case management were used as the expected standard of care. Observations of patient-provider encounters and interviews with the providers and mothers were the main sources of data. The study found that private health providers in rural West Bengal have inadequate technical quality of care. The problem was related both to low levels of performance (limited potential) and inconsistency in performance (within-provider variation). Limited potential for good technical quality for ARI among the providers was related to lack of knowledge (technical incompetence). One of the important factors influencing within-provider variation was patient load. Since rural private providers operate on a fee-for-service payment system, there are incentives related to seeing many patients. The study concluded that to bring about sustainable improvements in private providers' ARI disease management practices, training programs and interventions that improved compliance were necessary.

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Accession: 003767425

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 12297244

DOI: 10.1016/s0277-9536(01)00292-1


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