Document Type : Original Article
Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Administration, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
Achieving universal health coverage in poorly-resourced settings like Nigeria demands optimal mobilization of all healthcare resources including community pharmacists. Such efforts are hampered by insufficient data on primary healthcare (PHC) contributions by community pharmacists. The study aimed to identify PHC services offered by community pharmacists; assess impact of technologies on PHC service quality; and evaluate factors influencing management of PHC services in Nigeria.
A descriptive cross-sectional survey of 321 community pharmacies and 642 clients was undertaken between April and August, 2019. Semi-structured pre-tested questionnaires were administered on randomly-selected community pharmacists and clients. Interviews were conducted with key informants. Data were summarized using frequency and percentages while weighted averages on 5-point ordinal scales and chi-square tests were used to identify weights and associations between variables respectively at P < .050.
Response rates of pharmacists and clients were 74.7% (N = 321) and 100% (N = 642); while their median ages were 39.41 and 51.20 years respectively. Community pharmacists offered services in all eight domains of PHC, especially supply of medicines for treating of endemic diseases (mean weighted average [MWA] = 4.59), and disease prevention (4.54) but least of vaccine administration (2.39). Blood glucose screening devices were the most adopted technology with significant impact on service quality (χ2 6.86, P = .030). Major challenges to management of PHC services were poor awareness of pharmacists’ roles (4.31) and lack of integration with the PHC infrastructure (4.31). Capacity constraints in finances (4.11), technologies (4.09), and human resources (3.99) were significant. However, major facilitators were pharmacists’ managerial skills (4.35), and strong client relationships (4.27).
In Nigeria, community pharmacists offered important PHC services. Deploying technologies were associated with improved service quality. If community pharmacists are integrated in the national PHC architecture and financial incentives are provided, their competences and goodwill would enhance the achievement of universal health coverage.