Stakeholders harp on increased engagement of PPMV for accessible FP

A cross section of health stakeholders on Thursday called for increased engagement of Patent and Proprietary Medicines Vendors (PPMV) for accessible family planning services.

Dr Kayode Afolabi, Director and Head, Reproductive Health Division, Federal Ministry of Health, reiterated federal government’s commitment to the uptake of family planning services in Nigeria.

He said this at the IntegratE media roundtable in Abuja.

Afolabi said that private sector driven participation is key to advancing national family planning services uptake.

“In Nigeria, we have it on record that private sector accounts for almost 60 per cent of health services provision, especially sexual reproductive and health services.

“We also have it on record that drug shops and pharmacists comprise about 40 per cent of health sector and 3 per cent of maternal and child healthcare services,” he said.

Afolabi said that fertility and maternity issues have led to the country having young population structure where more than 40 per cent are children.

According to him, the country’s fertility rate stands at 5.3 per cent, implying that in Nigeria there are 6 children per woman with very low uptake of family planning services.

The Director who expressed optimism in the capacity of Patent medicine dealers and pharmacists to drive the desired result in family planning, called for public private partnership.

He affirmed the federal government’s commitment to Task shifting and Task Sharing (TSTS) policy in advancing family planning.

Dr Elijah Mohammed, Registrar of Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, said that the people’s health and well being are in line with the third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) by the year 2030.

Mohammed explained that access to quality healthcare, particular at the community level, is essential towards achieving both SDG three and Universal Health Coverage.

He said that the vision of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria is to create an enabling and regulated environment for the provision of quality pharmaceutical services for sustainable healthcare delivery.

“The community Pharmacists (CPs) and Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) shops are usually the first point of accessing primary health care for most Nigerians.

“The situation is more pronounced in the rural and underserved areas. The private sector accounts for 58 per cent of health services provision, including child-related health services.”

He asserted PPMV’s widespread availability, location in the community with consistent drug stocks and extended hours for consultation.

Dr Omokhudu Idogho, Managing Director, Society for Family Health, said that Nigeria is committed to achieving the goal of a contraceptive Prevalence Rate of 27 per cent by 2024.

Represented by Mr Michael Alagbile, Idogho said that a synergy with the state and local governments was necessary to secure complimentary budgets for family planning and Reproductive Health services.

“The commitment includes training Frontline health workers to deliver a range of contraceptives and actions to improve equity and access to family planning for the poorest and to partner with with the private sector, civil society, traditional and religious institutions and development partners.”

He, however, emphasised the imperatives of private public partnership in making family planning accessible to women.

Idogho commended the federal ministry of Health, and other partners for providing the support.

Mr Emeka Okafor, Project Director, IntegratE project, Society for Family Health, called for collaboration to improve the operations of PPMVs not only to reduce unplanned pregnancies but unsafe abortions.

Okafor said that the project which had Lagos and Kaduna as pilot states had triggered an uptake of family planning by over 200,000 women since June 2021 with 94,000 as new users.

Mrs Vivianne Ihekweazu, Managing Director, Nigeria Health Watch, called for massive engagement of the private sector, especially Patent and Proprietary Medicines Vendors to increase uptake of family planning services.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the IntegratE project is implemented by a consortium led by the society for family Health and co-funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and MSD for Mothers since 2017.

They have been working with the federal ministry of Health to broaden its task-sharing and task shifting (TSTS) policy by piloting a three tier accreditation system led by Pharmacists Council of Nigeria.