Invest In Self Care To Strengthen Health Systems For All

Uncategorized Dec 30, 2021

I listen to the Press Conferences about taking 'personal responsibility' to manage COVID19, should you contract it, about avoiding high density risky situations and whilst I agree, the language is all wrong. This is actually about teaching people about the broader and important subject of Self Care and how each of us must lean into it in order to invest in our own health and to strengthen health systems that are struggling at present.

I've invested over 2 years of my life, researching and education myself on Self Care practices to bring together WOW Self Care School to help educate the broader public on evidence based Self Care practices. It continues to be one of the most misunderstood health opportunities for us all.

In June of 2021 the World Health Organisation issued this definition of Self Care as “The ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider”.

The Problem: Health systems are stretched beyond capacity and millions of individuals are unable to access essential healthcare. There is a critical opportunity to chart a new frontier in healthcare and work towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by strengthening the policy and regulatory environment for Self Care interventions.

The lack of attention, support, and funding for promising practices in Self Care prevents bringing Self Care programming to scale.

The rise of information technologies and growth in incomes in many countries means people are actively seeking new ways to look after their health in new ways.

COVID-19 has strained budgets and health systems. As funding constraints increase, there is more focus on finding safe, effective, and high-quality solutions to improve access to healthcare.

The Solution

Self Care has the potential to transform healthcare, especially for vulnerable populations, including women, girls, transgender individuals, adolescents and young people, and people who face barriers to healthcare access, such as rural populations an those in humanitarian situations.

  • Self Care is about expanding care to those who have limited access and enabling people to acting as informed agents of their own health and expanding care to those who have limited access.
  • Self Care provides options for those who are currently out of reach of care, helping them access the tools they need to live a healthy life.
  • Self Care is an essential part of the efforts to achieve primary healthcare and UHC.
  • Self Care is an under-used and high-potential approach to strengthen primary healthcare, help effectively achieve UHC, and reach other health goals

The Impact

Self Care enables individuals to exercise greater autonomy, power, and control of their health, and improve their health and well-being. At the same time, self-care can contribute to progress towards UHC by making health systems more equitable and efficient.

  • Self Care improves people’s awareness of their bodies and their health, improving their ability to prevent illness and maximize their health.
  • A growing number of self-care interventions can increase access to quality healthcare if they are made available and affordable to individuals.
  • As new self-care interventions become available, and as the self-care movement grows, self-care can make a significant contribution to primary healthcare goals and UHC.
  • Effective practice of self-care creates a stronger and more efficient health system, making good use of limited resources and increasing access to health services.


Join the movement to expand the safe and effective practice of Self Care, so that individuals can better manage their own health, health outcomes are improved, and health systems are better equipped to achieve UHC.

  • There is a unique opportunity to invest in Self Care right now--while . While Self-Care has existed for millennia, new technologies, experience and guidelines offer the opportunity for even more people to live healthy lives. At the same time, Self Care has the potential to alleviate the enormous strain health systems are under.
  • People are managing, protecting and promoting their own health and well-being every day today. If we work together to advance self-care as an opportunity to elevate individual health care, we can make it more consistently available, safe, effective, affordable, and convenient to those who need it.

The Call To Action

We must use every lever available to increase access to tools, technology, information, and needed health services to drive better outcomes and help stressed healthcare systems.

  • Establish national policies and programming integrating Self Care interventions as a component of national health systems.
  • Adopt/adapt the WHO Guideline on Self Care calling for national policies that will usher in this transformative era in healthcare and support self- care’s inclusion in primary healthcare.
  • Allocate national and subnational budget lines and policies to promote Self Care implementation.
  • Remove barriers to over-the-counter purchase of Self Care products.
  • Remove restrictions to timely access to the full range of Self Care interventions (e.g, age-of- consent, multi-month distribution, prescription requirements).
  • Provide resources for Self Care research and interventions.
  • Include health literacy and sexual and reproductive health and rights content in school curricula and other adolescent and youth platforms.
  • Approve pharmacy distribution of self-care commodities, methods, and tests.

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