At the United Nations High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD) held on 19-20 September in New York, USA, the World Self-Medication Industry (WSMI) launched a Core Package of Self-Care Priority Actions (SCPA) that aims to increase health sector efficiency and NCD prevention and control through self-care.
This Core Package outlines six priority areas with specific policy intervention recommendations, providing a road map that can help define and guide the actions that need to be taken in high NCD burden countries by national governments, WHO, international partners, and other local stakeholders (health-care professionals, academics, non-government organizations and others).
The market forces that drive current healthcare systems produce medical care rather than healthy individuals and populations. By contrast, a country which fully encourages self-care through building healthier settings, making healthy choices easier for people and empowering individuals to adopt healthy behaviors can expect to have a healthier population. The involvement of individuals is key in prevention. Self-medication empowers patients and healthy individuals to be active participants in preventing development of complications from minor ailments and improve existing symptoms of long-term conditions.
In 2008, 36 million people died from non-communicable diseases, representing 63 per cent of the 57 million global deaths that year. In 2030, such diseases are projected to claim the lives of 52 million people and, in low- and middle-income countries, NCDs will be responsible for nearly five times as many deaths as communicable diseases.
Countries have therefore an increasingly pressing need and substantial opportunity to encourage chronic disease prevention by supporting people to undertake better self-care. Responsible self-medication with nonprescription medicines is an important contributor to this effort and should be a core part of national health policies.