Our Year in Review

As we come to the close of the year, it’s incredible to think the end of 2020 is upon us. From a global pandemic to economic uncertainty and heightened social and political tensions, this year has brought a number of “unprecedented challenges” into every facet of our lives, including in the areas where we work.

But 2020 was an important year for the Self-Care Trailblazer Group (SCTG), and we would be remiss if we didn’t look back at all we were able to achieve with your support.

We started the year by rolling out the Advocacy Roadmap—informed by stakeholder consultations conducted in 8 countries—to serve as a blueprint for collective advocacy action and drive forward the self-care for sexual and reproductive health and rights movement on both global and national levels.

And while we were faced with COVID-related restrictions, the work did not stop but rather shifted to face and address these challenges. The SCTG continued to lead the global conversation around self-care as a critical component for achieving universal health coverage, leveraging digital channels as well as virtual convenings and global awareness days to ensure our message got out, loud and clear.

We focused efforts on building the evidence base around self-care. To that end, our Evidence & Learning Working Group informed the development of the Quality of Care in Self-Care Framework, a tool for assessing the extent to which a given self-care intervention is designed and resourced to ensure quality. We completed a Digital Care Framework for Self-Care to provide an understanding of self-care approaches through the lens of digital health enhancements. We also began work on a policy mapping toolkit to understand the extent to which countries do—or do not—practice the WHO Consolidated Guideline on Self-Care for Health in terms of policy or implementation.

2020 also saw the SCTG expanding our footprint to the national level to foster the adaptation of WHO normative guidance on self-care. In Uganda, Nigeria, and Senegal, we supported the establishment of Ministry of Health-led technical working groups, collaborating with key stakeholders to drive forward the development of national self-care guidelines. And in all three countries, our local SCTG partners are cultivating grassroots self-care advocacy movements, which will serve as practical ‘how to’ examples for creating the enabling environment aimed at inspiring and equipping action in other contexts in the future.

Moreover, the SCTG spent concerted time in 2020 looking forward, working with members—as well as gathering input from our external partners—to develop a new vision for self-care and our strategic plan of action for the next five years. We still have a long road to fast-tracking self-care policy and practice – a key goal – but together we paved critical groundwork that will serve us well over time. Looking back on our achievements, I am confident that we can make great progress in the years ahead. Let’s work together to ensure self-care is contributing to and enhancing health systems, globally.

On behalf of the Secretariat team, I wish you and your families a joyous, healthy and restful festive season and a hopeful and brighter 2021!

Thanks, as always, for your continued partnership and support.

Sandy Garçon
Head of SCTG Secretariat
Senior Advocacy Manager, Population Services International