Self-care interventions are among the most promising and exciting approaches to improve health and well-being, both from a health systems perspective and for the users of these interventions. Self-care interventions hold the promise to be good for everyone and to move us closer to realizing universal health. Self-care interventions have the potential to increase choice and autonomy when they are accessible, acceptable and affordable. They represent a significant push towards greater self-determination, self-efficacy, autonomy and engagement in health for self-carers and caregivers. While risk and benefit calculations may be different in different settings and for different populations, with appropriate normative guidance and a safe and supportive enabling environment, self-care interventions promote the active participation of individuals in their healthcare and are an exciting way forward to reach improved health outcomes by addressing various aspects of healthcare.
This guideline brings together new and existing WHO recommendations, good practice statements and key considerations on self-care interventions for health. The recommendations relate to specific health-related interventions while the good practice statements relate to implementation considerations and more generally to creating and maintaining an enabling environment, particularly for underserved populations, which also contains two additional recommendations). This document builds on the 2019 guidance, which was the first such guideline published by WHO. The new recommendations in this guideline focus on self-care interventions that are considered to be in transition from provision by facility-based health workers to delivery using a self-care approach.
Where current WHO guidance exists, this document refers users to those other publications for further information, and to other relevant WHO tools and documents on programme activities.