Some contraceptive options such as condoms, emergency contraceptive pills and oral contraceptive pills are available for both old and young people in pharmacies, says practice area lead, Reproductive Health/Family Planning Project, Society for Family Health, Dr Anthony Nwala.
Nwala, while speaking with our correspondent, said such contraceptive methods do not require a health care personnel to administer them. “Another example of contraceptive you will find at a pharmacy is DMPA-SC also known as sayanna press which is a type of injectable that can be administered by oneself after having been trained on how to properly administer it. It is safe, easy to use and very effective,” he added.
He said young girls who are sexually active have the right to optimal and quality sexual and reproductive health services and this includes easy access to contraceptives services or commodities either from health facilities or at a pharmacy.
“Pharmacies provide easy accessibility options to sexually active young girls. Age should not be a barrier to providing an opportunity to help a young girl or woman avoid unplanned pregnancy. It is often ironic that the more the society tries to limit access to modern contraceptives for young girls, the more creative these young women are in using unorthodox way to prevent unplanned pregnancy. The unorthodox methods are most often harmful to their reproductive health organs and sometimes life threatening,” he reiterated.
While pharmacies are allowed to sell some of the contraceptives to women and young girls, Nwala urged pharmacists not to go beyond the scope of what they can offer at that level of care. Young girls and boys should not also abuse contraceptive pills, but ensure they use it appropriately, he said.
“Patent Medicine Vendors are regulated by the Government of Nigeria and have guidelines as to what contraceptives services they can provide. For example, while Patent Medicine Vendors can stock condoms, oral contraceptive pills, and emergency contraceptive pills, they are not allowed to provide ethical contraceptives. Young people however have the responsibility of accessing their needs and advised to visit family planning providers at the youth friendly centers for a comprehensive counseling before deciding on options that suits their needs,” the family planning expert said.
He noted that all modern contraceptives are safe to use, adding that there is no scientific studies that have proven otherwise. Appropriate method of contraceptives for a woman, can be used after discussing with a healthcare provider in details and have been checked against certain criteria to ensure it suits the woman’s body needs, he said.