Can private pharmacy providers offer comprehensive reproductive health services to users of emergency contraceptives? Evidence from Nairobi, Kenya

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Objective: To evaluate the provision of reproductive health information and services to users of emergency contraceptives (ECs) by private pharmacists. Methods: The study involved intervention (9) and control (8) pharmacies, with baseline and endline assessments of EC provision through the use of mystery clients. Intervention pharmacies received weekly updates on EC, fliers with three key messages on EC, and information, education, and communication materials. Logistic regression models are estimated to predict the provision of reproductive health services to EC clients. Results: The differences between the control and intervention pharmacies with respect to the provision of additional information on EC and regular family planning services are in the expected direction but statistically insignificant. In contrast, the likelihood of providing information or referral for counseling or testing for sexually transmitted infections or HIV was lower in the intervention than in the control pharmacies but the difference was also not statistically significant. Conclusion: Pharmacy providers in the country face institutional challenges in providing reproductive health services to EC clients. Practice implications: The challenges could be addressed through pre-service training, targeted in-service training, sensitization of clients, and point-of-sale materials such as brochures, posters and package inserts.