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FHS Nigeria Policy Brief 1 - Malaria Treatment in Nigeria: The Role of Patent Medicine Vendors

Future Health Systems

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Malaria is a major cause of illness and death in Nigeria. It is also a significant drain on its economy and a major financial burden to the poor. Most Nigerians do not get the right treatment. When someone has a fever they believe to be malaria, they usually go to a private patent medicine vendor (PMV) for anti-malarial drugs (AMDs). Although PMVs are the most common source of malaria treatment in Nigeria, little is known about them. It is important to understand the poorly regulated market in which they work because patients do not know what they are getting. This are a lot of substandard and fake drugs around. Also, the malaria parasite has become highly resistant to the medicines that were used in the past. The government has recently changed its guidelines and recommends that people use artemisinin-combined therapy (ACT). But it is not clear how this change in policy has affected the market that provides malaria treatment for most Nigerians. A team from Ibadan University undertook a scoping study in 12 local government areas (LGAs) in three states to explore the malaria treatment market and the role of PMVs, and to look at ways to improve malaria treatment.