Supporting Retail Medicine Vendors as Resources for Child Health

May 7th, 2020 | Viewpoint


In Nigeria, the patent proprietary medicine vendor (PPMV) shops are ready and able to become a far more effective resource for child and community health. PPMVs are often the closest outlets and the first source of care for sick children outside the household; in fact, in many rural communities, they are the only available or affordable providers of care and medicines. Right now, most PPMVs are untrained, unsupported, provide low-quality care, and are not permitted to stock or dispense key health supplies, such as antibiotics like amoxicillin dispersible tablets (amoxicillin DT), the first-line drug for the treatment of pneumonia in Nigeria. But this doesn’t need to be the case.

JSI’s child health team worked with the Government of Nigeria and other partners to improve the quality of care provided by PPMVs in Ebonyi and Kogi States, where access to high-quality health care services for children is extremely limited. The results were demonstrable:

  • PPMVs are now allowed to provide life-saving drugs to children who have pneumonia. 
  • PPMVs use local producers of high-quality medicines, which increases their access to first-line drugs and supplies. 
  • PPMVs are trained in basic integrated community case management (iCCM) and have a supervision and mentoring system to support high-quality service provision. 
  • Children are diagnosed, treated, and referred more appropriately (see graph below). 

Quality Indicators for Assessment, Treatment, and Counseling for Sick Children under 5 Years of Age

Quality Indicators for Assessment, Treatment, and Counseling for Sick Children under 5 Years of Age graph
Source: MSCP Nigeria Evaluation, data from 176 PPMVs (88 PPMVs each in Kogi and Ebonyi)

These notable results in child health care were enabled by capacity-development activities and new health and logistics information systems. The collaborative methods we used, institutionalized at the state and national levels and across public-private sectors, lay the foundation for innovative, sustainable results for child health. This concentrated effort clearly demonstrates that PPMVs are resources who, with training, can improve child health services and outcomes. 

JSI’s work was part of the global Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP, 201419), which contributed to USAID’s critical goal of preventing maternal and child deaths. MCSP sought to reduce the incidence and severity of malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, and other childhood conditions by improving the quality of and access to care for children under 5 years of age in USAID priority countries.

Written by Michel Pacque

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