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HomepageWhat is self-care

What is responsible self-care?

If we have to translate this English term into Russian, it'll be something like "self-help" or "care about oneself". However, the notion of self-care as of responsible attitude to one's health is more precise when it comes to the meaning.

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In the West, this term has been used for quite a long time – the concept of self-care was proposed by the World Health Organization (the WHO) back in 1983. 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 healthcare provider.

What does self-care include?

The scope of self-care includes a wide range of day-to-day activities that enable individuals to take better care of their health.

Healthy ways of living: maintain physical activity, have healthy eating habits, and refuse harmful practices
Monitoring of one's health: have a sufficient level of medical knowledge to be able to identify symptoms of minor ailments and assess the risks of health deterioration
Using responsible self-treatment principles: use available consumer healthcare products (including OTC drugs) to relieve symptoms of minor ailments if no contraindications are present

The use of the practices listed above do not constitute an alternative of the traditional healthcare system. Implementation of the concept of self-care does not assume a complete refusal to visit doctors. On the contrast, the purpose of it is to create the environment where the population has the knowledge, skills and support provided by healthcare professionals (pharmaceutical professionals etc.) to make conscious and independent decisions related to health.

Why is it today that we started to talk about self-care?

Healthcare resources use is constantly increasing, which can be explained by factors like the COVID-19 pandemic, aging population, and an increase in the number of chronic non-infectious diseases. This means that it's getting increasingly difficult to provide equal healthcare access to all population groups.

Several studies have been conducted by industry associations, like the Association of the European Self-Care Industry (AESGP) and the Global Self-care Federation (GSCF), demonstrating that implementation of the self-care concept can improve the burden for the primary care institutions and cut down state budget expenses

Making population capable of managing their health and well-being can decrease healthcare resources utilization and create new opportunities to meet their basic needs – which will improve the quality of life. Therefore, the Association of Consumer Health Industry is committed to ensuring the realization of the potential for the concept of self-care in the Russian Federation, using the best international practices.

Useful information:

Fundamental principles of the concept of responsible self-care and its potential in the modern healthcare system of the Russian Federation. National Medical Research Center for Preventive Medicine of the Russian Ministry of Health, 2018.

Tolpygina S.N., Martsevich S.Yu., Kontsevaya A.V., Drapkina O.M. Responsible self-care - fundamental principles and place in the modern health care system. // Rational Pharmacotherapy in Cardiology. 2018. No. 14(1). pp. 101–110.

Self-care interventions for health

Economic & Social Value of Self-Care Report. GSCF, 2021.

Self-care Readiness Index Report. Global Self-care Federation, 2021

Selfcare in Europe: Economic and Social Impact on Individuals and Society. AESGP, 2021.

The Value of OTC Medicines to the U.S. Healthcare System. CHPA, 2019.

Sustainable Health Systems, Visions, Strategies, Critical Uncertainties and Scenarios. Report from the World Economic Forum. McKinsey & Company. Geneva: World Economic Forum; 2013. The Role of the pharmacist in self-care and self-medication: report of the 4th WHO Consultative Group on the Role of the Pharmacist, The Hague, The Netherlands, 26-28 August 1998.