With a press briefing in Geneva and kick-off celebrations in Hong-Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar and Nigeria, International Self-Care Day goes global this year. This is great news because self-care is good for individuals and society and it needs to be better promoted and understood. Self-Care is clearly an underexploited weapon to fight the 21st century killer diseases such as chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. These chronic noncommunicable diseases are the cause of 63% of deaths each year and are projected to cost globally 47 trillion dollars between 2010 and 2030. The role of prevention in fighting NCDs and other diseases is increasingly recognised and self-care can make a tangible difference. In fact, 80% of heart diseases, strokes and diabetes and over a third of cancers could be prevented if self-care was widely practiced worldwide. Self-care means adopting healthy habits and avoiding to take risks to prevent disease – such as quitting smoking, eating healthy foods, exercising more and practising safe sex – , becoming health literate – that is acquiring the necessary knowledge which will support confidence to look after yourself or the ability to make the decision to consult a healthcare professional –, and also being supported and able to use medicines and self-care products appropriately. International Self-Care Day was initiated by WSMI, and it is now led by the recently formed International Self-Care Foundation. The Foundation is calling for an official UN recognition of International Self-Care Day on 24 July.
An infographics was developed on the occasion of International Self-Care Day 2013 to aid the understanding of self-care. download infographics in pdf.