During the World Health Summit in Berlin, several United Nations (UN) agencies issued a joint statement advocating for increased commitments and investments in self-care interventions for sexual and reproductive health and rights. The move aligns with the commitments made by world leaders at the UN General Assembly to intensify efforts toward achieving universal health coverage by 2030. The joint interagency statement emphasizes the potential of self-care interventions to enhance global healthcare access and outlines the need for coordinated, strategic action in five key areas: financing, health and care workforce, partnerships and accountability, improving quality regulation, and research.
Pascale Allotey, Director of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research at the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Special Programme of Research, Development, and Training on Human Reproduction (HRP), highlighted the significant potential of self-care interventions in ensuring access to necessary sexual and reproductive health services. Expanding the availability of high-quality self-care options not only empowers individuals and enhances autonomy in healthcare decisions but also contributes to the goal of health for all.
The joint statement emphasizes the urgency of addressing the lack of access to essential sexual and reproductive health services worldwide. Each day, an estimated 800 women succumb to preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, and 1 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections are acquired.
Self-care interventions for sexual and reproductive health include various practices such as self-administering injectable contraception, self-sampling for human papillomavirus (HPV) screening, HIV self-testing, ovulation predictor kits, and self-managing medical abortion.
The five agencies jointly advocating for action are the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Special Programme of Research, Development, and Training on Human Reproduction (HRP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Bank.
The joint statement is available in English, French, and Spanish.