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FHS Nigeria Policy Brief 2 - Organizational and regulatory functions of the Nigerian Patent Medicine Vendor’s Association. How can it be used to improve malaria management?

Future Health Systems

Patent medicine vending in Nigeria transcends the contemporary period dating back to colonial times. It has remained a primary source of care especially for poor people in urban and rural communities. The Association of Patent Medicine Vendors (PMVs) has a long history, it is now a national body with many members. This body has received little attention from researchers. Its importance has been invisible to policy makers even though the activities of its members have continually being regulated. Not surprisingly, the link between the government regulatory bodies and the association is weak. A recent study by the Future Heath Systems (FHS) consortium identified PMV associations as having potential important roles to play in providing information, influencing PMV behaviour and procuring drugs, but the government knows very little about PMVs or their associations. This makes it difficult for government regulators to understand how best to work with the association on the availability, labelling, dispensing, marketing and pricing of medicines sold by PMVs. For the many Nigerians who use PMVs, it is difficult for them to know if they have access to quality treatment and prevention services. Information on the PMV association is critical for promoting evidencebased decision making by regulators, program managers and policy makers.

As a way of bridging this gap, a team from the University of Ibadan undertook an exploratory study among the officers of Patent Medicine Vendors Association (PMVA) in Oyo State, Nigeria at the state, zonal and local government area (LGA) levels to explore the organizational and regulatory practices of the association in relation to the management of malaria, using an exploratory research design.