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How Self Care Can Strengthen Health Systems

Coming up we talk to Dr. Sarah Onyango about Self Care. Currently 3.6 billion people – half of the world – lack access to essential health services. WHO recommends self-care interventions for every country and economic setting, as a critical path to reach universal health coverage, promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.

Self-care recognises individuals as active agents in managing their own health care, in areas including health promotion; disease prevention and control; self-medication; providing care to dependent persons, and rehabilitation, including palliative care.

Self-care interventions are evidence-based, quality tools that support self-care. They include medicines, counselling, diagnostics and/or digital technologies which can be accessed fully or partially outside of formal health services. Depending on the intervention, they can be used with or without the direct supervision of health workers.

Self-care interventions can:

  • empower individuals and communities to manage their health and well-being

  • strengthen national institutions with efficient use of domestic resources for health

  • improve primary healthcare (PHC) and contribute to achieving UHC

About Dr. Sarah Onyango

Dr. Sarah Onyango is the Senior Technical Advisor, Self-care at PSI in the Health Systems Accelerator (HSA) team. She is responsible for leading and coordinating PSI’s technical, research, and programmatic self-care portfolio.

Sarah is a health professional with significant expertise in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and has led international SRHR organizations and programs at the country and regional levels with industry leaders such as Ipas, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

Most recently, she was the Director, Technical at IPPF where she led IPPF’s Technical Leadership team. She also worked with the Ministry of Health in Kenya and has served as a representative at the World Health Organization, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the IBP Consortium, and other international fora.

She is a medical doctor and holds a Master’s degree in Public Health and Health Research and is currently pursuing a PhD in Public Health.

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