Self-Care: Enabling people to take charge of their own health
Over the last four decades, PATH has developed products and approaches that place people at the center of their own health decisions. We see these innovations as a new take on an old practice: self-care.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines self-care as “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health-care provider.” These interventions have the transformative potential to increase individuals’ autonomy, improve health outcomes, and strengthen health systems.
PATH’s work on self-care for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is grounded in the belief that women and girls should have self-determined choice about their health and their bodies. To make this a reality, PATH advances women-controlled products like the Caya® diaphragm, the Woman’s Condom, and a self-injectable contraceptive called subcutaneous DMPA (DMPA-SC). Our current work also includes programs to improve health literacy, promote autonomy, and support women and girls to participate directly in their health care.
PATH promotes self-care across health issue areas, including self-management of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension, HPV self-sampling to prevent cervical cancer, and self-testing for HIV as well as making it easier and more convenient for people to access pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PATH also works with countries to adapt appropriate digital health tools that connect individuals to information and services, allowing them to make informed decisions about their health.
Learn more about our self-care work
- Education as an enabler, not a requirement: ensuring access to self-care options for all
- Local leaders drive progress in contraceptive self-care
- Self-care provision of contraception: Evidence and insights from contraceptive injectable self-administration
- HIV Self-Care and COVID-19: Lessons for the Future of the HIV Response
- Contraception during a crisis: The potential of self-injection
- Five ways advocates can help ensure that self-care is part of universal health care
- Where there are few screens: Digital training for self-care in the pandemic and beyond
- Women’s self-care: a new take on an old practice
- Learning from the experts: first-hand perspectives on self-care in Uganda
- Women’s Self-Care: Products and Practices