Operations and roles of patent and proprietary medicine vendors in selected rural communities in Edu Local Government Area, Kwara State, north-central Nigeria
Background: Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) are a ubiquitous feature of the informal health sector in many African countries including Nigeria. Little has been reported about the services they render. This study assessed the operations and role of PPMVs in selected rural communities of Edu LGA, Kwara State, Nigeria
Methods: This explorative study used a mixed method approach of data collection. In-depth interviews were conducted among 25 purposively selected PPMVs in three out of the five operational zones in the LGA. Enumeration and mapping of PPMVs shops was done to determine the number and location of the PPMVs in all the five operational zones in the LGA.
Results: PPMVs sell drugs with or without prescription and offer services like weight, blood pressure measurements. Products stocked align with the approved list of drugs, though some stock drugs outside the list. Their collaboration with the pharmacists is limited to drug purchasing. Collaboration with the formal health sector consists of training and patients’ referrals. Membership of National Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers (NAPPMED) is a ‘sine qua non’ for business. Enumeration of PPMVs shops in the five zones revealed 136 shops with Lafiagi having the highest and the GPS coordinates mapped on Google Earth Map showed the location and spread of the PPMVs
Conclusion: PPMVs can potentially bridge the gap in healthcare delivery in the study area and by extension to the State. Organizing capacity building workshops for the PPMVs can help strengthen their quality of health service and collaboration with other stakeholders.
Keywords: Patent medicine, Pharmacies, Proprietary medicine vendors, Rural