The World Health Organizations has stated that self-care “encompasses hygiene (general and personal); nutrition (type and quality of food eaten); lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure, etc.); environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.); socioeconomic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.); and self-medication.” At the National and individual level, the WHO believes that supporting self-care interventions has the potential to:
- strengthen national institutions to maximize efficient use of domestic resources for health;
- create health sector innovations; and
- improve access to medicines and interventions through optimal interfacing between health systems and sites of health care delivery.
The International Self-Care Foundation (ISF) is fully aligned with the WHO’s articulation of the value of self-care and has been working to champion self-care around the world. In practical terms this means helping to develop evidence-based self-care concepts and practices and helping to promote the role of self-care in health.
It is particularly import to note that ‘lifestyle’ diseases – particularly heart attack and stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes – have reached epidemic proportions in most countries around the world. But did you also know that lifestyle diseases are substantially preventable? Up to 80% of heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes, and over a third of cancers could be prevented by eliminating shared risk factors, particularly tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol. This means encouraging ‘self-care’ – personal health and wellness management and lifestyle disease prevention.
However, a big challenge in lifestyle disease prevention is that responsibility ultimately rests with each of us as individuals, and there are many practical difficulties. Self-care needs to be a central part of people’s lives, and integrated into families, communities, organisations and society. But being substantially outside current Health and Social Systems, self-care has in the past lacked a champion.
ISF’s Mission is to work with all stakeholders in health, to support countries, communities and individuals in the adoption of evidence-based self-care practices.
If you are an academic expert in any aspect of self-care please get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are an industrialist or philanthropist and would like to support our work please get in touch with us via email@example.com
In the future, ISF aims to provide simple, practical guidance to help people to self-care. If you can help us with this please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org . Together we can all make a difference. Please support this global movement for health and wellness!
David Skinner Zhenyu Guo, PhD.
ISF President ISF Chairman