Patent medicine vendors, community pharmacists and STI management in Abuja, Nigeria

Afr Health Sci. 2010 Sep;10(3):253-65.


Background: Increasingly, literature indicates that Patent Medicine Vendors (PMVs) and Community Pharmacists (CPs) provide sexual reproductive health services and products to their young patrons.

Objectives: This study explored the validity of literature claims, principally from CPs and PMVs perspective in Abuja, Nigeria.

Methods: Participants were recruited with convenience sampling based on their willingness to participate in the study and our judgement of their professional competence. They were administered a semi-structured questionnaire, which was modelled after McCracken's long interview. We empirically assessed the validity of CPs and PMVs opinions with an exit interview of seven consenting patrons. Interviews were audio taped, transcribed verbatim and subjected to iterative thematic analysis.

Results: Participants' accounts and our observations indicate that PMVs and CPs serve young people's sexual reproductive healthcare needs in Abuja. CPs and PMVs provide young people with a seamless and non-judgemental access to contraceptives, sexual health advice and post-sexual risk exposure care.

Conclusion: The study corroborates literature claims that CPs and PMVs provide sexual reproductive health advice, services and products to young people. However, participants contend that the current pharmacy practice laws in Nigeria constrain the scope and quality of services that young unmarried people require. Because it is unlikely that Nigeria will reinvigorate her primary healthcare system soon, we call for the formal co-option of CPs and PMVs into the sexual reproductive health management system to standardize and improve services.

Keywords: Chemists; Community Pharmacists; Patent Medicine Vendors; Premarital sex; STIs.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Commerce
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Nigeria
  • Nonprescription Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Pharmacies*
  • Pharmacists*
  • Reproductive Health Services / organization & administration
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tape Recording
  • Young Adult


  • Nonprescription Drugs