Disease Surveillance and Private Sector in the Metropolitans: A Troublesome Collaboration

Ayat Ahmadi, Saharnaz Nedjat, Jaleh Gholami, Reza Majdzadeh


Objectives: This study was designed to identify various reasons from various perspectives for underreporting disease by physicians in the private sector in big cities in developing countries setting.

Methods: In this qualitative study, we used focus group discussions (16 manager), and in-depth semi-structured interviews (7 private physician, 2 experienced policy maker and a researcher). We used the thematic approach for data analysis. Results were amplified by a comprehensive literature review.

Results: Themes were classified in 6 categories: Infrastructure and legal issues, the priority of disease reporting, workflow processes, motivation and attitude, human resources and knowledge and awareness. As the main reasons of under reporting, most physicians pointed out complicacy in reporting process and inadequate attention by the public sector. Managers emphasized instituting legal incentives and penalties. Experts focused on physicians’ knowledge and expressed a need for continuing medical education programs.

Conclusions: Independent interventions will have little chance of success and sustainability. Different intervention programs should consider legal issues, attitude and knowledge of physicians in the private sector, and building a simple reporting process for physicians. Intervention programs in which the reporting process offers incentives for all stakeholders can help improving and sustaining the disease reporting system.

Keywords: Iran, notification, public health practice, reporting

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