Reformed drug shops can widen access to healthcare

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Many people in developing countries — up to 82 per cent in Sub-Saharan Africa — seek healthcare and medicines from retail drug shops. They do so for different reasons, including convenience and drug availability.

In Tanzania, these duka la dawa baridi are often the only place to buy drugs in rural areas. Historically, the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) authorised duka la dawa baridi to sell over-the-counter medicines. However, a 2001 assessment showed that many sold prescription drugs illegally, enforcement was minimal and sellers were generally unqualified and untrained.

These practices go beyond Tanzania. Studies show that 58 per cent of drug sellers in Laos admit to buying drugs from unauthorised sources; untrained sellers in Nepal also provide clinical services such as injections and wound dressing; and Nigerian medicine vendors know something about illness symptoms but little about treatment.

Source: SciDevNet (link opens in a new window)

Health Care