Improving the quality of STI care by private general practitioners: a South African case study.

OBJECTIVES: Evaluation of an intervention to improve quality of sexually transmitted infections (STI) care among 64 private general practitioners (GPs) working in two urban districts in Gauteng Province, South Africa.

METHODS: We implemented a multifaceted intervention, the core of which were four interactive continuing medical education seminars. Changes in STI treatment practices were evaluated through record reviews before and after the continuing medical education intervention in 17 randomly selected practices in the intervention districts and in nine randomly selected practices from a reference GP group (n = 34).

RESULTS: There were statistically significant improvements in the quality of drug treatment for urethral discharge but not pelvic inflammatory disease among both intervention and reference GPs.

CONCLUSIONS: Improvements in STI quality were possibly the result of a background secular trend rather than the intervention itself. Further research is needed on financial and other incentives to improved quality of STI care in the private sector environment.