The Role of Patent Medicine Vendors in Injectable Contraceptive Services

Modern contraception is underutilized in Nigeria, which has a modern contraceptive prevalence rate of just 10 percent. Of the contraceptives used, injectable contraception is the most popular, accounting for approximately 30 percent of modern contraceptive use in the country. The bulk of contraceptive services are provided by private sources, including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and patent medicine (PM) shops. PM shops are the most popular among the private sources because they are readily available, and they are the preferred source of care for individuals who practice self-care, especially those living in many of the medically underserved communities.

The Evidence Project is conducting a study to better understand the role of patent medical vendors (PMVs) in offering injectable services (e.g., selling, counseling, referring to health centers, and/or administering). The study will also assess the standards of safety and infection-control practices used by PMVs when selling and administering injectable services. Additionally, the researchers will explore the experiences of injectable users in accessing PMV services and will assess the factors that influence women’s choice of injectable services, including cost, convenience, and privacy, among other determinants.

The knowledge generated from this study will help elucidate how PMVs are implementing injectable services and how to expand this programming if it is deemed safe, acceptable, and feasible.