Baseline survey shows need for self-care information and services

Baseline survey shows need for self-care information and services

The You(th) Care project collected baseline information on self-care in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. Findings show that most respondents have an understanding of self-care practices, but the concept of self-care is relatively unknown. Young people recommend to create more awareness on self-care interventions. They call upon governments to ensure availability and accessibility of self-care commodities and support the provision of youth friendly services.

Baseline survey amongst young people on self-care

As part of the You(th) Care project, implementing partners collected baseline information in Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia to get insight in the:

  • Level of understanding of adolescents and young people on self-care
  • Level of access to self-care commodities relevant for adolescents and young people
  • Number of adolescents and young people who are able to actually practice self-care

Data was collected in 31 facilities where You(th) Care is implemented: 12 in Kenya, ten in Tanzania and nine in Zambia. In total, 467 respondents aged 10 to 14 years old completed the survey (192 in Kenya, 139 in Zambia, and 136 in Tanzania).

At the moment, we are conducting an in-depth analysis of the results. Initial findings are presented below.

Young people’s understanding of self-care

Respondents shared their views on the understanding of the term self-care. While most do have an understanding of self-care practices, such as taking good care of yourself to stay healthy, the concept of self-care and self-care interventions was rather unknow.

Awareness and use of self-care products

Respondents showed they are aware of quite a number of self-care products. Condoms (85% in Kenya, 68% in Tanzania, 71% in Zambia), HIV self-test (83%, 78%, 66%) and pregnancy self-test (83%, 61%, 63%) were the best known self-care products. These were also the products that were used the most by respondents. HIV self-tests were used most in Tanzania (by 67% of respondents, compared to 50% in Kenya and 40% in Zambia), respondents in Kenya (65%) and Zambia (43%) reported condoms as the most used products. Least known products were HPV-self sampling (to screen for Human Papillomavirus (HPV)), ovulation predictor kits and the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring.

Preferred sources to access self-care interventions

Respondents in all the three countries preferred to access self-care interventions at the doctor/health clinic and pharmacy. Other preferred places were youth-friendly spaces, specialist private hospitals, and door-to-door outreaches, like HIV testing services and mobile tents.

Young people gave the following recommendations

  1. More awareness creation on self-care interventions

Respondents recommended to create more awareness to young people on self-care interventions, particularly related to menstrual health hygiene, ovulation predictor kits, the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and mental and emotional health. They mentioned that other people in the community, particularly parents and caregivers, should also be educated on self-care, so that they can support young people to access self-care services, specifically on HIV prevention and measures.

  1. Availability and access

Respondents call upon the government to ensure availability and accessibility of self-care commodities and support the provision of youth-friendly services for young people in the health centre. They mentioned that there is still stigma among service providers when going to access services.

“Most youth would want to get HIV services but they face stigma and bad attitude from the service providers but there is no money to buy the HIV Self-Test Kit to administer an HIV test to oneself”


“There is a need to continuously do advocacy on the issue of commodity stock-outs, leading to limited accessibility of SRHR services including Prep and Pep for the young people”


The baseline findings will inform the You(th) Care interventions and advocacy messages.

Keep an eye out for the baseline report, which will be published soon on our website.


About You(th) Care

SRHR self-care can prevent unwanted pregnancy, STIs and HIV, amongst others[1]. When people participate actively in their healthcare, medication and treatment adherence improves[2]. When adolescents and young people assess and manage their own care, they learn about their bodies, become more aware of their physical conditions, increase their responsible use of products and services, and have better health outcomes.

You(th) Care (2022-2025) enables adolescents and youth (aged 10-25) in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia to advocate for and practice self-care for their SRHR needs and to increase access to (digital) self-care services and commodities.


[2] Levison, Lesser & Epstein, 2010 Developing Physician Communication Skills for Patient-Centered Care uses cookies to offer the best website experience possible and to anonymously analyze website behaviour. More information.