Emerging evidence suggests drug shops can safely deliver many short-acting methods of family planning, including injectable contraceptives, at similar levels of quality and lower costs than higher-level facilities. Donors and governments seeking to increase the use of modern contraceptive methods in pursuit of FP2020 and other national goals could look to expand the role of pharmacies and drug shops. Allowing pharmacists to administer injectable contraceptives would help increase access to modern contraceptives.
In a step to effect policy change so that pharmacists could administer injectable contraceptives, SHOPS Plus convened a stakeholder meeting at East Africa Healthcare Federation conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in July 2018.
SHOPS Plus senior private sector advisor, Mbogo Bunyi, hosted a meeting at the conference, bringing together pharmacy associations and other stakeholders to discuss advocacy efforts directed at getting legal and regulatory approval to allow pharmacists to administer injectable contraceptives. Representatives of major health care organizations including the Association of Private Health Facilities from Tanzania, and the Kenya Healthcare Federation attended the gathering, which had stakeholders from Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda. The participants discussed prospects, challenges, and the kind of support they would need for policy change in their countries to allow pharmacists to administer injectable contraceptives. The discussions helped inform key messages that are being included in a SHOPS Plus advocacy toolkit, soon to be published.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Revolutionizing Healthcare through Digital Technology in Africa.” The purpose was to enhance the progress of healthcare in the region through technological advancements and to bring private sector stakeholder and policymakers together to engage in high level discussions on public-private partnerships, health, and health related Sustainable Development Goals.