A cross-sectional study, comparing the nature of services in 15 private clinics and 6 public health facilities, was undertaken in a rural district of Malaysia. Semi-structured interviews and observations using check-lists were employed. Public health facilities were run by younger doctors (mean age = 31.1 years);: supported mostly by trained staff. The private clinics were run by older doctors (mean age = 41.2 years) who had served the district for much longer (8.9 years vs 1.5 years) but were supported by less well trained staff. The curative services were the main strength of the private clinics but their provision of preventive care was less comprehensive and of inferior quality. Private clinics were inclined to provide more expensive diagnostic services than the public facilities. \"Short hours\" private clinics had very restricted opening hours and offered limited range of services.
Medical Journal of Malaysia (1996) 51 (4) 426-436