A research team from the African Regional Health Education Centre based in College of Medicine, University of Ibadan has called for an urgent need for a legal framework to regulate the operations of Patent Medicine Vendors (PMVs) in Nigeria.
The medical research team, said that given the high level of patronage being enjoyed by the patent medicine dealers, such regulation was necessary so as “to check quackery, guarantee accountability and ensure strict compliance to operational guidelines from regulatory agencies”.
Leader of the team, Professor Ademola Ajuwon, who stated this in Calabar while presenting the outcome of research findings on the “Assessment of the Processes, Mechanism of Influence of Proprietary Patent Medicine Vendors’ training on Access to and Utilization of Injectable Contraceptive Services in Nigeria, also advocated an effective synergy between relevant government agencies and Patent Medicine Vendors (PMVs) to attain optimum impact in universal health care coverage in Nigeria.
Professor Ademola, who was re-presented by a member of the team, Dr Ayodeji Adebayo, said that such approach was vital “for the realization of set targets in health care delivery in view of the reliance of majority of the citizenry especially rural dwellers on the services provided by the PMVs”.
He said that regular training and supervision of the PMVs will boost their capacity and minimize lost of lives attributable to wrong dosages of injectable contraceptives and non-referral of sensitive cases beyond their capacity.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Health, Mr. Takon Achu Takon who stood in for the Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu applauded the team for their findings which he described as “empirical and incontestable”.
He noted that the patent medicine dealers were key stakeholders in government’s resolve to achieve universal health coverage hence a regular interface to keep them abreast with government policy direction was already on course.
On his part, the Director General, Cross River State Primary Health Care Agency, Dr Janet Ekepenyong said government will adopt the findings for the needed collaboration to achieve set objectives but warned proprietary patent medicine dealers against engaging in abortion but should rather operate within the ambit of the law and to always refer cases beyond their limit to government or duly recognised health facilities promptly to save lives.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the State Chapter of the body, Mr. Samuel Etim expressed delight at the recognition accorded them as critical partners in the health system and sued for constant interaction for mutual benefits.