Health Risk Screening Practices of Pharmacy and Chemist Shops in Selling Oral Contraceptives to Women in Jos Metropolis
Background: In Nigeria, oral contraceptives are widely available in the informal health sector without prescription. Whilst oral contraceptives are generally safe, most physicians agree that they should not be given to everyone. Certain health risk factors are contraindications for the use of oral contraceptives. I nformal facilities, like Pharmacy and Chemist shops are the main sources for obtaining oral contraceptives in Nigeria. Studies have shown that informal health providers in Pharmacy and Chemist shops can screen for these factors when women come to purchase oral contraceptives. This study examines the screening practices of pharmacy and chemist shops in Jos metropolis.
Methodology: Fifty two pharmacy and chemist shops were selected using simple random number sampling technique from 120 registered pharmacy and chemist shops in Jos Metropolis. A semi-structured questionnaire, examining the screening practice of the sales persons was interviewer administered to all the sales persons in the shops.
Results: Eighty six (86) sales persons were interviewed. 51(59.3%) were females and 50(57.7%) had completed secondary school education. Twelve (13.9%) of the respondents had some form of on the job training for screening women who come to buy oral contraceptives. Twenty eight (32.7%) of the respondents did not ask any question from the women who buy oral contraceptives. Those who asked questions did not know the correct responses expected or why the questions were important. None of the respondents knew that diabetes, breast diseases and obesity were contraindications to the use of oral contraceptives
Conclusion: Screening practices are poor and persons who sell oral contraceptives to women have a poor knowledge of health risk factors that are contraindications to the use of oral contraceptives. Sales persons should be trained on screening methods and information about oral contraceptive safety and their contraindications be made available to women.