NGO seeks urgent formation of guideline on self-care


CHRISTY Asala, Senior Programme Officer, White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria (WRAN), an NGO, has called on the Federal Ministry of Health to come up with a guideline to support citizens’ self-care.

The call was made at a stakeholder consultation meeting on Self-care Agenda organised by WRAN on Friday in Abuja.

According to Asala, such measure will enable the populace make informed decision about their health and at the long run reduce the burden of illness.

She defined self-care as people having informed decision and carrying out self-test or diagnostic while having some symptoms of illness.

She cited instances of self-care as self-diagnostic with malaria test kits, pregnancy test kits, self-breast examination to detect lump, blood sugar test, blood pressure check among others.

“Self-care is not a new concept; we have been doing it, we are basically calling on different stakeholders, parliamentarians to support this and to understand that this is not trying to put power and danger on the hands of people but give people information.

“The whole idea is that if people are well informed about their health, then they can make better decisions about their families, communities and even the country at large.

“So, self-care is about putting information in the hands of people because if you have information you will be able to make more informed decisions.

“If people have information they can make good decisions that will definitely make the country better that will give a drive to the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030 and also make Primary Healthcare more functional.

According to her, the objective of the meeting was to identify key areas of consensus for advancing self-care through national policy, advocacy and opportunities for engagement on priority.

She said that other objective include development of advocacy strategies to build momentum for self-care from the community to the global level.

Dr Kayode Afolabi, the Director of Reproductive Health, Federal Ministry of Health corroborated the request, saying that there was need for urgent formation of national guideline on self-care to reduce the burden on health system.

According to him, the WHO has defined self-care as “ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”

According to him, these include health promotion, disease prevention and control; self-medication, providing care to dependent persons, seeking hospital/specialist care if necessary; and rehabilitation including palliative care.

Afolabi emphasised that government and stakeholders had  responsibility to ensure that the conceptual framework for self-care interventions align with the Nigerian health system.

“It is worthy of note that while facility care is very crucial to the achievement of Universal Health Coverage, it cannot be overemphasised that the actions and inactions of individuals and communities also contribute to the success or failure in achieving the overall goal.

“With the rapidly growing population of Nigeria and the consequent pressure on the available resources for providing qualitative health care services and the initiative of building the capacity of individuals and communities to reduce unnecessary dependence on health facilities should be a welcome development,’’ he said.

Afolabi said that the initiative for self-care could not have come at a better time than now and was not meant to replace the highly responsive and quality service delivery system.

He said that the aim and idea was to complement the health system toward the achievement of Universal Health Coverage. (NAN)

– Jan. 31, 2020 @ 18:09 GMT |

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