Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Academic institutions: managers of public-private partnerships in tuberculosis control?

Article: Newell et al. 2004;82:92-8

Dear Editor, I read with the interest the article by Newell et al (1) regarding tuberculosis control in Lalitpur municipality, Nepal. There is no doubt that an excellent programme has developed during the project period. The article concludes that "similar public-private partnerships are likely to be replicable elsewhere, as inputs are not large and no special requirements exist".

In a commentary from Mahendradhata and Utarini (2), information on the costs of this kind of programmes is asked for. Further discussions on who should take on the managerial role are also needed. The importance of management can not be underestimated and will be crucial when it comes to replicate this experience elsewhere. The article does not reflect on the commitment of Nuffield Institute for Health, Leeds in this endeavour, although they have played such an important role in initiating and keeping the project alive since its start in 1997.

This academic institution has funded a couple of key people on a local level and given inspiration through their expert visits. The Lalitpur project has also been characterised by strong NGOs and openness to collaborations among leaders of the National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP) (3). This reflects general features in tuberculosis control in Nepal which in part is built on partnerships between different NGOs and the NTP. Therefore I think this project is just as context specific as the pioneer work at Mahavir Trust Hospital in Hyderabad mentioned by the authors (4). Although the idea of easy replicability is attractive the importance of context can never be forgotten.

Yours sincerely,
Anna-Karin Hurtig. Umeå International School of Public Health, Epidemiology and Public Health Sciences, Dept of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, SE-901 85 Umeå, Sweden. Email: Anna-Karin.Hurtig@epiph.umu.se

  • Newell JN, Pande SB, Baral SC, Bam DS, Malla P. Control of tuberculosis in an urban setting in Nepal: public-private partnership. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2004;82:92-8.
  • www.who.int/bulletin/bulletin_board/82/Newell1/en/ accessed April 1, 2004.
  • Hurtig AK, Pande SB, Baral SC, Newell J, Porter JD, Bam DS. Linking private and public sectors in tuberculosis treatment in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Health Policy and Planning. 2002;17:78-89.
  • Murthy KJR, Frieden TR, Yazdani A, Hreshikesh P. Public-private partnership in tuberculosis control; experience in Hyderabad, India. International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. 2001;5:354-9.