DKT DRC celebrates the decision by the Ministry of Health and the National Program of Reproductive Health (PNSR) to allow the provision of contraceptive services in pharmacies. The General Secretary of Health signed two official documents validating this decision: “Guidelines for the Provision of Family Planning Services in Pharmacies” and the “Implementation Manual of Family Planning Services in Pharmacies”.
This new initiative brings the country a step closer in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of universal access to sexual and reproductive health care, reducing global maternal mortality, and ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Pharmacies play a crucial role in providing access to reproductive health services. In the DRC, as is the case in many parts of the world, pharmacies are the closet local resource for products such as pregnancy tests, condoms, and other forms of contraception.
Throughout the years, DKT DRC has worked diligently with the Ministry of Health and the PNSR to train pharmacists to provide SRH products and services. These capacity-building efforts have been greatly supported by donors, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which improves pharmacists’ knowledge of contraception to better serve clients. This is just one effort among many that have pushed for this important milestone.
The most significant aspect of the Government’s endorsement is that it will increase the number of channels in which contraceptive services are offered. Women can now receive contraceptive injections and implants at a pharmacy, reducing barriers to service delivery and empowering more women to plan their futures.
As the health sector continues to consider means of sustainability in health care delivery, it is undeniable that the private sector (primarily through private pharmacies in the DRC context) is an essential part of providing high-quality health services to our growing population. DKT DRC recognizes the importance pharmacies have in reaching vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups and applauds the government’s efforts to expand access to family planning products and services in the country through this new decision.