Pharmacists as youth-friendly service providers: documenting condom and emergency contraception dispensing in Kenya

Int J Public Health. 2020 May;65(4):487-496. doi: 10.1007/s00038-020-01348-9. Epub 2020 May 22.


Objectives: This Kenya-based study ascertained whether pharmacies were an untapped source of 'youth-friendly' health services by determining (1) whether young people (aged 18-24) could successfully obtain condoms and emergency contraception (ECP); (2) whether contraceptives were dispensed according to national guidelines; and (3) how young people felt about obtaining ECP and condoms from pharmacy personnel.

Methods: This study used several methods to capture and cross-check purchasing experiences as reported by young people with those of dispensing pharmacy personnel. These included: focus group discussions; in-depth interviews; key informant interviews; and mystery shoppers.

Results: When in stock, young people were successfully able to obtain ECP and condoms from pharmacies. Counselling was sporadic: when it happened, it was not always accurate. Despite a lack of counselling, young people reported being satisfied with the quick, transactional interaction with pharmacy personnel.

Conclusions: The brief, transactional interactions between pharmacy personnel and young clients appear to be 'youth-friendly enough'. While there is room to strengthen the services provided (improving both accuracy and scope), this should be done in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the current interaction.

Keywords: Contraception; Family planning; Low-income country; Pharmacy; Sexual and reproductive health; Youth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Condoms / supply & distribution*
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Contraception / trends
  • Contraception, Postcoital / trends*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Education / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Kenya
  • Male
  • Pharmaceutical Services / organization & administration*
  • Pharmacists*
  • Young Adult