Thousands of women in Niger State, Nigeria told us that they wanted easy access to care and health services closer to their communities. Nothing embodies this request more than self-care – specifically, equipping women with the information and tools to manage their reproductive and maternal health in the comfort of their homes.
Women’s demands coincided with the Federal Ministry of Health’s renewed focus on self-care. Advocates brought women’s perspectives to key policy forums including stakeholder consultations on self-care and government meetings to develop a national guideline. In 2021, Nigeria became the first country worldwide to adopt and implement a national self-care guideline. As of 2022, nearly half the states in Nigeria have committed to implementing the guideline and expanding access to self-care – from building awareness of healthy behaviors to increasing availability of self-administered products for contraception, HIV testing, cervical cancer screening, and more.
Already, women are seeing changes in their communities. For example, health tips are reported more frequently in the media and translated into local dialects and self-injection for contraception is more widely available. And women are increasingly able to make informed decisions and take health into their own hands.
People have said ‘this [self-care] is what we have been waiting for.’ We are committed to provide the enabling environment to expand the use of self-care.Dr. Olumuyiwa Ojo, National Professional Officer Maternal
Sexual, and Reproductive Health, World Health Organization Nigeria
My request is for women to be educated on how to take good care of themselves before, during, and after childbirth.