A SPOTLIGHT ON COALITION STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBER MEGAN CHRISTOFIELD

A SPOTLIGHT ON SCTG COALITION STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBER MEGAN CHRISTOFIELD

The Coalition Steering Committee advises the Secretariat and provides oversight of SCTG coalition functions, ensuring a strong value proposition for members that is supportive of the SCTG’s strategic priorities. New Steering Committee member Megan Christofield, a Technical Advisor for Family Planning and Self-Care at Jhpiego, answers questions about her expertise and passion for self-care below!

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO JOIN THE SCTG COALITION STEERING COMMITTEE?

Self-care is one of the most exciting approaches to improve health – both for the ways it puts greater control into the hands of individuals themselves, and its potential to alleviate stressed health systems and deliver greater health for all. However, integrating self-care into health systems is complex and benefits from engagement of a diverse set of stakeholders to trade experiences and advance the field together. Shaping a coalition that brings these actors together to deliver on the promise of self-care is very inspiring!

WHAT DOES SELF-CARE MEAN TO YOU? AND WHY IS IT INTEGRAL TO ACHIEVING UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE?

Self-care is a super exciting dimension of healthcare, where people themselves take health actions towards the better health of themselves, their families, or their community. It’s about individuals and communities co-producing health, alongside more traditional health system actors. In this way, self-care is critical to achieving UHC because ‘coverage’ is incomplete without the contributions of individuals and communities.

IN LIGHT OF THE NEW VISION, MISSION AND STRATEGY FOR SCTG, HOW DO YOU SEE THE COALITION AND THE SELF-CARE MOVEMENT EVOLVING IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

I love the way the SCTG is shifting towards this idea that self-care is a construct of health and not just a list of device-driven interventions. Our membership (and leadership!) are evolving in ways that acknowledge the need to look across health areas, and to consider the behavioral factors that facilitate or impede self-care, just as much as the digital and medical technologies that enable self-care. This shift is a foundational one not just for self-care, but healthcare and UHC as a whole.

GIVEN YOUR WORK AS AN ADVOCATE, WHAT ROLE CAN YOUR SECTOR PLAY IN EXPANDING THE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE PRACTICE OF SELF-CARE?

Implementing organizations (like where I work, Jhpiego), are well-placed to surface and test solutions around the practical challenges that occur when advancing self-care for health. This is particularly valuable because self-care needs to be both people- and systems-centered, and implementers are often a helpful bridge between these stakeholder environments. I’m inspired by the work my colleagues are doing to evolve and build health worker competencies to support clients in self-care.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT YOURSELF?

As part of a local mentorship program, during my final year of high school I left after lunch most days to shadow a pediatric heart surgeon. I observed over 60 surgical cases that year, and learned about the power of good mentors in life (a lesson for which I’m forever grateful)!