Where did self-care go in the latest draft of the new UHC Political Declaration?

Where did self-care go in the latest draft of the new UHC Political Declaration?
Last updated on: 04 March 2024

As we speak, UN Member States are negotiating drafts of the new Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Political Declaration to be adopted in September at the High-Level Meeting. In this new blog post, our Head of Policy U.S., Marielle Hart, takes a closer look at the latest draft and what should be changed. She highlights the urgent need to include self-care in the UHC agenda. Why? Read on!

Where did self-care go in the latest draft of the new UHC Political Declaration?

To our dismay, the reference to self-care in an earlier draft of the new UHC Political Declaration currently being negotiated was removed from the current draft. Self-care interventions for health are critical for ending AIDS and achieving UHC. According to the WHO Guideline on Self-Care Interventions for Health and Wellbeing, access to self-care interventions including over-the-counter availability of some contraceptive products, HIV self-tests, pregnancy tests, condoms and lubricants, HPV and STI self-sampling and self-monitoring of blood pressure and blood glucose, will ease the burden on overstretched health systems and increase the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of health-care. In addition, self-care increases people’s autonomy, choice and power over their health and enables them to have access to health services in their own home, when they need it, with follow-up at a clinic when needed.

Not including a commitment to scaling up evidence-based and quality self-care tools and interventions in the new UHC Political Declaration means denying a person’s ability to play an active role in their own health and making it even more difficult for groups of people who face obstacles accessing clinic-based care. As a result, UHC will not be achieved.

The need for self-care

Self-care is important for adolescents and young people: it improves their agency over their own SRHR, particularly for those who are excluded or face challenges to access services through health providers (e.g. due to poverty, distance, lack of privacy and out of fear of stigma). Self-care is a sustainable and cost-effective approach to achieve universal coverage for SRHR, reduce unwanted teen pregnancies and adolescent birth rate, decrease adolescent HIV infections, increase adolescents living with HIV on treatment and realise a world without AIDS by 2030.

Read more!