Fears surrounding COVID-19 and pandemic-imposed restrictions have kept countless clients from visiting health care facilities for essential services—giving health systems and care providers an urgent opportunity to promote self-care. From contraception and management of diabetes during pregnancy to testing and treatment for HIV, self-care allows women and families to respond to their immediate health needs with or without the support of a health care provider.
As a core member of the Self-Care Trailblazer Group, Jhpiego has stepped up efforts to contribute global guidance and tools on self-care amid the pandemic and beyond.
While supporting health workers to become champions of self-care, Jhpiego is improving and increasing access to medicines and screenings in clients’ own communities and homes.
Notably, Jhpiego has partnered with the Ministry of Health in Togo to enable women and girls in that West African nation to take home two doses of DMPA-SC, a self-injectable contraceptive known as Sayana® Press. The result: effective, private and prolonged protection from unwanted pregnancies. As a method and means, it’s tailormade for lockdowns and confinement, keeping women safer longer while relieving pressure on providers and facilities overburdened with COVID-19 cases. With the power to protect themselves literally in hand, women are likely to continue practicing self-care after the pandemic plays out.
In tandem with working to expand access to the self-injectable, Jhpiego supported the Directorate of Maternal and Infant Health/Family Planning to develop remote training tools for providers on supporting clients interested in this method. Videos, photos and PowerPoint modules on virtual platforms encourage peer interaction.
In addition, public-facing programs, including videos translated into Ewé and Kabyè, emphasize service continuity during the pandemic by promoting self-care through the self-injection of DMPA-SC, guaranteeing autonomy for women and girls.