Women as active
agents of their health


Self-care is transformative for people and for health systems. When individuals are informed and active agents in their health, we can achieve improved health outcomes. This is particularly true for women, girls, trans and non-binary people, who need accessible, equitable and user-friendly healthcare that serves their unique needs. Safe and effective self-care solutions not only support individuals to better manage their own health, it also reduces strains on the health system.

Self-care is broadly defined as the ability to manage one’s own health with or without provider support. New diagnostics, devices, drugs and digital health solutions are transforming the way people interact with the health system. Self-Care Trailblazer Group member Saumya Ramarao talks about why self-care is important and how it supports gender equity in healthcare.

Self-Care for
Stronger Health Systems

Driven by deep consumer and market insights, PSI leverages the power of self-care to improve access to health services and better equip health systems to achieve universal health coverage.

From at-home, rapid diagnostic tests to contraceptive self-injection, high-quality drugs, and digital innovations, PSI works in 30+ countries to make quality self-care solutions accessible and in step with formal health delivery systems.

Self-care enables people to take charge of their own health in ways never before possible. But self-care requires major behavior change, including for providers.

Woman's hands holds Sayana Press self-injectable contraception

With funding from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, PSI’s Delivering Innovation in Self-Care (DISC) project’s innovative Moment of Truth approach enlists providers to drive demand for and scale self-care—starting with contraceptive self-injection. Here’s how.

Igniting a
Self-Care Movement

Change on the ground requires systems-level change, too. Alongside partners, we are igniting a broad-base movement in support of self-care; effectively paving the way for the thoughtful and deliberate integration of self-care into health policy, program and practice.

Under the direction of PSI, the Self-Care Trailblazer Group (SCTG) mobilizes a global, multi-stakeholder movement to expand the safe and effective practice of self-care. The SCTG galvanizes support for self-care through evidence generation, global communications, advocacy and shared learning. Learn more.

A robust evidence base is essential to forming sound policies, designing effective programs across all health areas.

From policy analyses to frameworks on quality of care, digital self-care and social behavior change, the SCTG has developed and contributed to a number of critical resources to support the introduction, scale-up and sustain self-care interventions within health systems.

In June 2021, the Self-Care Learning and Discovery Series brought together experts across global health—in 16 interactive, virtual session—to exchange and incubate ideas, experiences, and solutions on a variety of self-care topics, ranging from mental health to self-care in humanitarian settings.

for All

Enabling environments facilitate the fast-tracking of national policies and programs that unlock self-care's potential and accelerate progress toward universal health coverage.

As we sensitize global and national policymakers to the potential of self-care, we must home in on at least three important issues: how we effectively measure self-care, how we ensure self-care is affordable and how we improve equitable access to self-care. The good news: we’re on it.

In 2020, the Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria and the Ministry of Health of Uganda pioneered national self-care guidelines—a significant achievement in the journey to more formally recognize self-care practices in health systems. The applicable insights from this process are available for you to use.

25 million unsafe abortions occur every year. The World Health Organization’s new abortion care guideline aims to provide lifesaving care and support self-managed abortion. PSI was among the organizations consulted in the process of developing 50+ evidence-based recommendations.

Andrea Fearneyhough, PSI’s Director of Safe Abortion Programming, shares what the normative guidance means at the global and national levels.

Solutions like HIV self-testing play a critical role in ensuring the continuity of testing services while reducing additional strains on already stretched health systems. And HIV self-testing offers a discreet and convenient way to approach HIV diagnoses, particularly in many high burden settings.

The PSI-led STAR Initiative project has produced crucial insights and evidence on the safety, feasibility, acceptability, impact, and mechanisms for scaling up of HIV self-testing approaches worldwide—providing a foundation from which the potential of other self-care approaches can now be more readily realized.

Much of the past research on the self-injectable contraceptive DMPA-SC focuses on how best to integrate self-injection into reproductive health services—as well the feasibility and safety of the product. While these are certainly important considerations, limited attention has been paid to women’s contraceptive experiences, desires, preferences, and needs. We're changing that.

Project DISC’s Insight Synthesis Report examines self-injection from a “user journey” perspective that breaks down the multitude of considerations facing consumers and providers across five stages.

In Ethiopia, we’re studying health consumers’ and health workers’ experiences with self-injection (DMPA-SC). The hope? That the findings inform the Ethiopian Ministry of Health’s national rollout of DMPA-SC.

To date, PSI Ethiopia has trained 34 public sector health providers to deliver DMPA-SC and distributed 4,000 units of the self-injectable method to 14 health facilities across the country. Learn more.

The expansion of mobile phones, smartphone applications, internet access and artificial intelligence enables people to engage with their own health in new ways. From targeted health messages to self-monitoring tools, digital technology removes barriers to accessing care and plays an integral role in strengthening health systems. Read the research.

Investing in stronger
Consumer-powered health systems

Self-care is not new but we need to work together to make it more widely available in a safe, effective and affordable way. This will require increasing awareness, generating demand and addressing funding, policy, regulatory and other barriers to institutionalize self-care within national health systems.

Join the journey. Contact Sarah Onyango, Self-Care Senior Technical Advisor, to learn more. 


The Future of Work

With overarching commitments to flexibility in our work, and greater wellbeing for our employees, we want to ensure PSI is positioned for success with a global and holistic view of talent. Under our new “work from (almost) anywhere,” or “WFAA” philosophy, we are making the necessary investments to be an employer of record in more than half of U.S. states, and consider the U.S. as one single labor market for salary purposes. Globally, we recognize the need to compete for talent everywhere; we maintain a talent center in Nairobi and a mini-hub in Abidjan. PSI also already works with our Dutch-based European partner, PSI Europe, and we’re creating a virtual talent center in the UK.


Meaningful Youth Engagement

PSI is firmly committed to the meaningful engagement of young people in our work. As signatories of the Global Consensus Statement on Meaningful Adolescent & Youth Engagement, PSI affirms that young people have a fundamental right to actively and meaningfully engage in all matters that affect their lives. PSI’s commitments aim to serve and partner with diverse young people from 10-24 years, and we have prioritized ethics and integrity in our approach. Read more about our commitments to the three core principles of respect, justice and Do No Harm in the Commitment to Ethics in Youth-Powered Design. And read more about how we are bringing our words to action in our ICPD+25 commitment, Elevating Youth Voices, Building Youth Skills for Health Design.


Zero Tolerance for Modern-Day Slavery and Human Trafficking

PSI works to ensure that its operations and supply chains are free from slavery and human trafficking. Read more about this commitment in our policy statement, endorsed by the PSI Board of Directors.



Since 2017, PSI has been a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, a commitment to align strategies and operations with universal principles of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Read about PSI’s commitment to the UN Global Compact here.


Environmental Sustainability

The health of PSI’s consumers is inextricably linked to the health of our planet. That’s why we’ve joined the Climate Accountability in Development as part of our commitment to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Read about our commitment to environmental sustainability.


Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity

PSI does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, marital status, genetic information, disability, protected veteran status or any other classification protected by applicable federal, state or local law. Read our full affirmative action and equal employment opportunity policy here.


Zero Tolerance for Discrimination and Harassment

PSI is committed to establishing and maintaining a work environment that fosters harmonious, productive working relationships and encourages mutual respect among team members. Read our policy against discrimination and harassment here.

PSI is committed to serving all health consumers with respect, and strives for the highest standards of ethical behavior. PSI is dedicated to complying with the letter and spirit of all laws, regulations and contractual obligations to which it is subject, and to ensuring that all funds with which it is entrusted are used to achieve maximum impact on its programs. PSI provides exceptionally strong financial, operational and program management systems to ensure rigorous internal controls are in place to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse and ensure compliance with the highest standards. Essential to this commitment is protecting the safety and well-being of our program consumers, including the most vulnerable, such as women and children. PSI maintains zero tolerance for child abuse, sexual abuse, or exploitative acts or threats by our employees, consultants, volunteers or anyone associated with the delivery of our programs and services, and takes seriously all complaints of misconduct brought to our attention.


Diversity and Inclusion

PSI affirms its commitment to diversity and believes that when people feel respected and included they can be more honest, collaborative and successful. We believe that everyone deserves respect and equal treatment regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, cultural background or religious beliefs. Read our commitment to diversity and inclusion here. Plus, we’ve signed the CREED Pledge for Racial and Ethnic Equity. Learn more.


Gender Equality

PSI affirms gender equality is a universal human right and the achievement of it is essential to PSI’s mission. Read about our commitment to gender equality here.


01 #PeoplePowered

02 Breaking Taboos

03 Moving Care Closer to Consumers

04 Innovating on Investments

Let's Talk About Sex