- The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched guidelines on self-care interventions for health. The WHO’s first volume of guidelines focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
- The WHO’s definition of self-care is “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health-care provider.”
- The WHO has observed that promoting self-care is particularly important given the rising shortage of healthcare providers. It is estimated that there will be a shortage of 12.9 million healthcare workers by 2035.
- Some of the interventions put forward by WHO for self-care specific to SRHR include: a) Self-collection of samples for common STIs, b) Self-sampling for human papillomavirus testing, c) Self-administration of injectable contraception, d) Home-based ovulation predictor kits, e) HIV self-testing and f) Self-management of medical abortion.
- The WHO has noted that supporting self-care interventions has the potential to a) strengthen national institutions to maximize efficient use of domestic resources for health, b) create health sector innovations by digital and mhealth approaches and c) improve access to medicines and interventions through optimal interfacing between health systems and sites of health care delivery.
- WHO has further noted that self-care is also a means for people who are negatively affected by gender, political, cultural and power dynamics.
WHO has decided to establish a community of practice for self-care. It will also promote research and dialogue in this area during the Self-care month between June 24 and July 24.