The St. Paul Declaration is a landmark step towards making self-care a health movement – Health Policy Watch

The first Latin American Regional Congress on Self-Care, held in São Paulo, Brazil, breaks new ground for self-care initiatives on the continent.

On the first of the month, we take a landmark step in self-care Latin American Self-Help Regional Conference. The two-day conference, held in São Paulo, Brazil, in November, brought together stakeholders from across Latin America to discuss key topics such as public policy and regulation, innovation and sustainability, empowerment and health literacy.

The Brazilian Self-Care Products Association (ACESSA) and the Latin American Association for Responsible Self-Care (ILAR) joined forces with the Global Self-Care Federation (GSCF) to bring together government officials, healthcare professionals, industry representatives and experts to explore this issue. The first edition of this event was outstanding.

The theme of the conference is Making Self-Care a Health Movement, with the overall goal of expanding and stimulating discussions on future WHO self-care resolutions. We can do this.

At its core is the São Paulo Declaration on Self-Care for Universal Health Coverage. The Declaration is a major step toward promoting global health equity and access to care.

This year, discussions and actions around self-care continue to advance, with the Human Rights Project, WHO, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Population Fund and World Bank releasing Joint statement on the importance of self-care At the World Health Summit a few weeks ago.

Harnessing the momentum generated by these advances, we must continue to raise awareness of the importance of self-care until the World Health Assembly (WHA) adopts a resolution on self-care for health, an initiative driven by Self-Solidarity – Care Alliance Partners.

If we are to see the development of sustainable and reliable healthcare systems in the future, self-care must be a fundamental aspect. Universal health coverage is a key element in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 3 aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all.

Furthermore, the right to health is fundamentally enshrined in international human rights law. The Declaration adopted by this Congress expresses a commitment to advocate for policies that promote health care and expand access to health services.

Self-care: Latin America’s needs

According to the Global Self-Care Alliance, global savings are realized annually through self-care.

As we look toward the changing future of health systems, the need for self-care has never been more evident.

Global Self-Care Federation The economic and social value of self-care The report points out that Latin America has the highest mortality rate due to poor quality of medical services. Reasonable mortality is defined as death from disease that is preventable with appropriate treatment.

But this kind of patient care needs to come from more than just primary care providers. Pharmacists and overall health literacy can make huge strides in health in low-access areas.

Historically, in Latin America, self-care has manifested itself in more than just the use of over-the-counter treatments. Traditional medicinal treatments remain common to this day and form a key pillar of self-care and health literacy in the region.

Individuals need to continue to be empowered to seek the best healthcare solutions for their circumstances, and measures such as the São Paulo Declaration will allow health systems to continue to develop holistically.

Speaking at the first Latin American Regional Conference on Self-Care, Eva Maria Ruiz de Castilla, Executive Director of the Latin American Patient Academy (LAPA) said: Individuals should have the right to manage their own health, and health systems should help them do this by making health care more accessible.

Self-care is a core component of a truly integrated health system Restoring the balance between health professionals and individuals. Furthermore, integrating self-care into the health continuum can help achieve universal health coverage, prevent overburdening of healthcare systems, and should be further expanded to more systems around the world.

Primary health care: a continuum

The Sopaolo Declaration was launched on November 9 at the first Latin American Self-Help Regional Congress in Brazil.

The current barriers to care that people face in our healthcare system make it clear that we need to view primary health care (PHC) as a continuum.

It starts with self-care at home, looking for available resources in the community or online, then moving on to seeking input from a variety of health professionals such as pharmacists, nutritionists, and health promoters, and finally taking steps to seek out a treatment provider for specific health care. Building resources for those seeking care to be able to practice effective self-care is a necessary and critical step.

Dr. Alejandra Acua Navarro, Executive Secretary of COMISCA (Council of Ministers of Health of Central America and the Dominican Republic), was one of the speakers at this week’s conference.

In his presentation titled “Self-Care in Mesoamerican Integrated Health Systems,” Acua emphasized the need for balanced policy efforts to build sustainable health systems for the future, noting that we cannot simply focus on expanding primary health care providers or hospital as the only solution.

“We must continue to work towards international recognition of self-care through the World Health Organization’s global self-care resolution,” Akua said. To drive real change and ultimately achieve universal health coverage, we need all stakeholders to actively support this resolution.

It’s now

If we are to continue to achieve our goal of creating sustainable health systems for the future, self-care needs to be intentionally recognized and adopted within our systems. We know that self-care can be introduced, expanded and built upon as a complement to existing systems. We are seeing this happening globally during the COVID-19 pandemic, with extraordinary circumstances forcing health ministries around the world to take drastic action.

We know it’s possible, but we shouldn’t wait until the next situation forces us to take action. Self-care must be integrated into national and international healthcare systems, and we are seeing the first steps through actions such as the São Paulo Declaration.

With the momentum on our side, and the growing awareness and understanding of the importance of self-care within the international healthcare community, this is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss. We must continue to push for a global self-care resolution at the World Health Assembly.

It was a real privilege to attend such an international conference and I came away inspired and engaged. As we continue this journey together, I look forward to seeing the next steps our peers from around the world will take.

About the author

Juan Thompson is the Director General of the Latin American Association for Responsible Self-Care (ILAR), a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting responsible self-care as the best way to stay healthy and ensuring the correct access and use of self-care in Latin America product. ILAR is a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and a member of the GSCF.

Image Source: GSCF,GSCF.

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