GENEVA, June 24, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- At the beginning of WHO Self-Care Month, the Global Social and Economic Value of Self-Care study, released today in full by the Global Self-Care Federation, demonstrates that current self-care practices deliver significant economic savings and quality-of-life improvements:
- savings of nearly $120 billion each year for global healthcare systems and, therefore, national economies.
- savings of 40.8 billion productive days for both health practitioners and individuals, which translates to an average of 11.83 workdays per person per year. It corresponds to a value of $1,879 billion in welfare effects.
- gain of 22 million quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), the standard measurement for the value of health outcomes.
These are the key findings of this groundbreaking research, which is the first global research project analysing the worldwide value and impact of self-care, across 155 countries. Importantly, it is the first study to include data from low- and middle-income countries, providing a unique global perspective.
Judy Stenmark, Director General at GSCF, said, "Given the proven benefits and efficiency gains that self-care delivers, it is clear self-care has to be given much higher priority by governments at all levels. It is currently an area that is sadly too often overlooked in health policy. And that applies to both the wealthier industrialised nations and the world's lower-income countries and regions."
The Study distinguishes between two main approaches. 'Self-care first' refers to the practice of self-care as the first treatment option, which is typically more prevalent in developed economies. The second is 'self-care only' is the use of self-care instead of doing nothing, in particular when it is the only available option in low-income countries.
Stenmark continued, "The Study very clearly demonstrates the benefits of self-care for individuals, healthcare professionals and health systems. It will be a major contributor to achieving universal health coverage and access to quality healthcare, both of which are clearly articulated in the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and the World Health Organization's 'triple billion' goals.
"It is now time to realise the potential of self-care, for everyone, everywhere."
The Study split the 155 countries into three groupings based on healthcare accessibility and affordability. It analysed levels of self-care integration, using a systematic literature review, economic modelling and other exhaustive tools to determine the value of self-care in a robust, scientific manner, to estimate the value self-care can bring according to a country's socio-economic context. Although the effects of self-care are quantified using the current and projected future consumption of over-the-counter (OTC) products, self-care is much more than that. Self-care is a multifaceted and multidimensional concept which includes a variety of health-related practices. There needs to be a greater recognition of these elements and the benefits of self-care from all key stakeholders.
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