Accessing Family Planning services from Community Drug Stores known as “Chemists” at the grassroot, is one way to prevent unintended pregnancy among young adults and even married couples in our communities.
Accessing family planning services from chemists, is welcoming because they are licenced to sell and administer over the counter drugs, including certain contraceptives, so do we have registered Pharmacies which are legalised to sell all drugs including ethical and poisons and these have trained Pharmacists attending to patients.
Community Pharmacists and Patient Propriety Medicine Vendors or “Chemists” are by their nature closer to the people at the grassroots than government Primary Healthcare Centres.
By their nature, these drugs stores are licensed to provide primary care for the people and the people rely and trust in them for family healthcare.
It has therefore been proven that by their nature these Pharmacies and Chemist stores have served as outlets to provide access to family planning services especially to young adults who may find visit to some Youth Friendly Centres around their locality not exclusive enough for confidential patronage.
According to the 2015 FP Watch study result for Nigeria, the private sector accounts for 86% of outlets stocking contraceptives or providing Family Planning Services in Nigeria; 72% of those outlets are PPMVs and 4% are
CPs. In the North West and South West regions, 69% and 81% respectively of outlets providing modern contraceptives are PPMVs.
From the Performance Monitoring and Accountability (PMA2020) April-May 2018 Round 5, in Lagos State, although almost all the health facilities such as health centres and hospitals are supposed to always stock all types of contraceptives for family planning services at all times, but there were indeed some months ofstock out due to non-release of budgets for mobilisation and transportation of commodities to last mile.
For instance for three months of January to March 2018, there was stock out of IUDs, Implants, in public hospitals and the private hospitals equally had stock out of IUDs, Injectables, Pills and Male condoms.
One then asks, where were the clients sourcing their family planning services?
The current Contraceptive Prevalent Rate in Nigeria is 16% by 2016 Indicator survey. However, the median age of urban women (Lagos in particular) of first sex is 20.3years and age of first contraceptive use is 25.4 by which time such woman would have had an average of 1.2 children.`
Interestingly however, a 3.0% of women in Lagos have had their first child at 18 years of age and never had exposure to contraception method till much later.
When it comes to people’s access to family planning services particularly from public facilities where family planning services, the average number of days per week family planning services is offered in Lagos is 5.5 days a week compared to Pharmacy outlets or chemists which can be accessed 7 times a week.
It is documented that pharmacies and Chemists constitute about 40 percent of outlets where people access family planning services aside 58 percent offered by private sector facilities.