What We Do
A NEW FRONTIER
While the concept of self-care is not new, the World Health Organization’s Consolidated Guideline on Self-Care Interventions for Health calls for adoption of national policies to usher in this transformative era in healthcare. Members of the SCTG support countries in bringing self-care interventions to consumers by advancing the evidence, practice, learning, and policy landscape of self-care for sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Over the past few years, self-care has advanced as a concept, practice, policy, and particularly during the time of COVID-19, a necessity to meeting the health needs of people across the globe. At a time when health systems are increasingly overstretched trying to meet the demands of COVID-19 and millions of individuals unable to access care, safe and effective self-care practices have the potential to improve the equity and efficiencies of health systems and offer a path for health systems to achieve universal health coverage.
Self-care can fast-track progress toward universal health coverage by broadening access to entry points into the health system, and countries have a critical opportunity to chart a new frontier for self-care interventions. While self-care is neither a replacement for quality primary care, nor a short cut to universal health coverage, self-care can act as an integral and complementary component of overall healthcare systems.
The SCTG relies on the following building blocks for any self-care policy, program, or initiative:
- Expanding access to devices, diagnostics, drugs, and digital tools that support people to practice self-care more effectively.
- Promoting health and body literacy and healthy behaviors, including when to seek the formal health system and what to expect from the health system.
- Strengthening individual agency and rights, enabling people to make and implement healthy decisions for themselves.
- Encouraging robust grassroots engagement, ensuring self-care interventions are people-centered, community-owned, and acceptable for individual contexts.
- Fostering strong linkages—such as information and support—–with the health system/providers to effectively facilitate uptake and practice of self-care.
These core principles are reflected in the SCTG’s advocacy and evidence workstreams.
The SCTG aims to build political momentum around a joint vision of self-care, particularly in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and advocate for self-care policies and financing to be institutionalized into policy and practice at the national and subnational levels.
The SCTG’s advocacy efforts focus on affecting policy at national, regional, and global levels. This means engaging with all partners and stakeholders, including related initiatives and networks. Across the breadth of the partnership at country and global levels, we hope to grow the self-care movement and employ a variety of tactics, including stakeholder engagement, in-country consultations, high-level convenings, and sensitization.
NATIONAL SELF-CARE NETWORKS
The SCTG will support the emergence of new National Self-Care Networks, advocating for specific policy changes in their countries. They will also engage grassroots networks and communities in mobilizing demand and social accountability for self-care policies and programs in these countries.
The SCTG National Self-Care Networks will contribute to building a coordinated, diverse, and influential self-care movement that is mobilized around common goals and messaging to advance self-care at the national and subnational levels. These National Self-Care Networks will pursue specific policy and advocacy priorities and, in collaboration with the global SCTG, will develop learning mechanisms around the extent to which national self-care guidelines promote scale-up of quality, affordable self-care for those in need. These National Self-Care Networks will prioritize community sensitization on self-care and social accountability mechanisms to ensure that top-down policy and guidelines changes take root at the individual and community level.