This study investigates the extent of malaria medication utilization among Community Pharmacists (CPs) and Patent Medicine Vendors (PMVs) in Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers state. Questionnaire was developed and used as the method of data collection. Responses were elicited from 58 CPs and 198 PMVs. Observations using Mystery Clients were also used in 40 of the facilities. Data obtained were entered into a computer and analyzed using Excel spreadsheet and the percentage frequencies were calculated.
The result showed that the use of anti-malarial agents was less rational among Patent Medicine Vendors (PMVs) than Community Pharmacists (CPs).The PMVs are the largest outlets for treatment of uncomplicated childhood malaria in Port Harcourt Local Government Area. There is an improvement in the use of Artemisinin- based Combination Therapy (ACT) for treatment of malaria. Both CPs and PMVs were aware of the national regulation to stock and sell only drugs registered by NAFDAC and the need to check the expiry date before procurement and sale. Brands of Artemether/lumefantrine and sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine were respectively the most common ACTs and non-ACTs, stocked and dispensed (or sold) by both CPs and PMVs.
In conclusion, the study demonstrates that there is a level of improvement in malaria medication utilization amongst CPs and PMVs and if Pharmacists’ support staff of Community pharmacies and PMVs are adequately trained and supervised, they can effectively administer malaria treatments. Equally, provision of subsidy on ACTs by Government will go a long way to enhance access and affordability.