Self-Care Interventions for Health: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Publication Date: June 1, 2019
Last Updated: March 14, 2022


1. Improving antenatal, delivery, postpartum and newborn care

REC 1: Health education for women is an essential component of antenatal care.

The following educational interventions and support programmes are recommended to reduce caesarean births only with targeted monitoring and evaluation.

(Context-specific recommendation, low-certainty evidence)
REC 1a: Childbirth training workshops

Content includes sessions about childbirth fear and pain, pharmacological pain-relief techniques and their effects, non-pharmacological pain-relief methods, advantages and disadvantages of caesarean sections and vaginal delivery, indications and contraindications of caesarean sections, among others.

( Low- to moderate-certainty evidence)


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1. Environmental considerations
Adapted good practice statement on safe and sustainable management of health-care waste
GPS 1 (ADAPTED): Safe and secure disposal of waste from self-care products should be promoted at all levels.
Adapted good practice statement on environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP)
GPS 2 (ADAPTED): Countries, donors and relevant stakeholders should work towards environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) of self-care products by selecting supplies that are less wasteful, or can be recycled, or that produce less-hazardous waste products, or by using smaller quantities.
2. Financing and economic considerations
Adapted good practice statements on economic considerations for access, uptake and equity
GPS 3 (ADAPTED): Good-quality health services and self-care interventions should be made available, accessible, affordable and acceptable to vulnerable populations, based on: the principles of medical ethics; avoidance of stigma, coercion and violence; non-discrimination; and the right to health.
GPS 4 (ADAPTED): All individuals and communities should receive the health services and self-care interventions they need without suffering financial hardship.
3. Training needs of health-care providers
Existing good practice statement on values and competencies of the health workforce to promote self-care interventions
GPS 5: Health-care workers should receive appropriate recurrent training and sensitization to ensure that they have the skills, knowledge and understanding to provide services for adults and adolescents from key populations based on all persons’ right to health, confidentiality and non-discrimination.
4. Implementation considerations for vulnerable populations
New good practice statement on the life-course approach to SRHR
GPS 6 (NEW): Sensitization about self-care interventions, including for SRHR, should be tailored to people’s specific needs across the life course, and across different settings and circumstances, and should recognize their right to sexual and reproductive health across the life course.
New good practice statement on the use of digital health interventions to support the use of self-care interventions
GPS 7 (NEW): Digital health interventions offer opportunities to promote, offer information about and provide discussion forums for self-care interventions, including for SRHR.
New good practice statement on support for self-care interventions in humanitarian settings
GPS 8 (NEW): Provision of tailored and timely support for self-care interventions, including for SRHR, in humanitarian settings should be in accordance with international guidance, form part of emergency preparedness plans and be provided as part of ongoing responses.
Adapted and existing good practice statements relevant to implementation of self-care for vulnerable populations
GPS 9 (ADAPTED): People from vulnerable populations should be able to experience full, pleasurable sex lives and have access to a range and choice of reproductive health options.
GPS 10 (ADAPTED): Countries should work towards implementing and enforcing antidiscrimination and protective laws, derived from human rights standards, to eliminate stigma, discrimination and violence against vulnerable populations.
GPS 11: Countries should work towards decriminalization of behaviours such as drug use/injecting, sex work, same-sex activity and nonconforming gender identities, and towards elimination of the unjust application of civil law and regulations against people who use/inject drugs, sex workers, men who have sex with men and transgender people.
GPS 12: Countries are encouraged to examine their current consent policies and consider revising them to reduce age-related barriers to HIV services and to empower providers to act in the best interests of the adolescent.
GPS 13: It is recommended that sexual and reproductive health services, including contraceptive information and services, be provided for adolescents without mandatory parental and guardian authorization/notification.



Self-Care Interventions for Health: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Authoring Organization