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Self-Care: Enabling people to take charge of their own health

By Sexual & Reproductive 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.

Self-care technologies: Caya diaphragm, Woman's Condom, HPV DNA screening self-sampling brush, subcutaneous DMPA (DMPA-SC)

Self-care technologies: Caya diaphragm, Woman's Condom, HPV DNA screening self-sampling brush, subcutaneous DMPA (DMPA-SC). Photo: PATH

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

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