Until the next International Self-Care Day

An annual opportunity to put a spotlight on the benefits of self-care.


Self-care Readiness Index 2022

What is the index?

The Self-Care Readiness Index 2.0 (SCRI 2.0) is a research and policymaking tool which explores the key enablers of self-care  in support of designing a better model for healthcare systems.

Spearheaded by The Global Self-Care Federation (GSCF), the SCRI 2.0 is supported  by the World Health Organisation (WHO)  and forms part of the current working plan between the two bodies. The research  includes a combination of in-depth qualitative and quantitative methodology supported  by experts and an advisory board. It aims  to provide policymakers, decision-makers,  and healthcare professionals with data and  to become an innovative learning platform  that inspires new approaches to self-care.

Which countries?

How were the countries covered by the Index selected?

In an effort to be reflective of global concerns and in line with broader policy conversations on issues such as universal health coverage and the management of non-communicable diseases, the Self-Care Readiness Index includes at least one country per each of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) six regions: Africa, the Americas, South-East Asia, Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Western Pacific.

The second edition of the Index includes ten additional countries, which supplements the original set of countries examined in the 2021 edition.

The Self-Care Readiness Index Report 2022

Defining Self-Care

Using the WHO’s definition as a jumping-off point, self-care as defined in this report refers to a broad range of activities, practices, and products that individuals can adopt to improve their health and well-being. In particular, self-care involves making healthy lifestyle choices and avoiding unhealthy habits; making responsible use of both prescription and nonprescription medicines; recognizing symptoms of common illnesses and diseases; managing one’s own treatment of colds, coughs, and other minor ailments; and self-monitoring, self-testing, and self-management of health conditions. Self-care products may include nonprescription medicines, dietary supplements, vitamins, and simple medical devices and tests designed for home use.

Given this definition, the Self-Care Readiness Index is based on four key enablers – the broad elements needed to realize the full potential of self-care in a given health system: 1. Stakeholder Support & Adoption, 2. Consumer & Patient Empowerment, 3. Self-Care Health Policy, 4. Regulatory Environment.


Each of the four enablers is supported by three or four measurable indicators of self-care readiness – which in some cases are broken down into even more concrete sub-indicators or proof points. For each indicator and sub-indicator, the research team gathered evidence through a combination of extensive desk research, expert interviews, and online surveys of healthcare providers and consumers.

Findings of the research in SCRI 2.0 reaffirm  the current lack of a holistic view on both  self-care and its systemic benefits. While perceptions of self-care vary globally, the concept is present in many national health policies, mainly through health promotion and prevention programs. Although health literacy remains largely overlooked globally, the SCRI  2.0 found that individual empowerment  reduces the need for healthcare interventions and fosters better health in all populations.

The SCRI is based on four key enablers – the broad elements needed to realize the full potential  of self-care within a given health system:

Enabler 1

Stakeholder Support & Adoption

The most important measure of a nation’s self-care readiness lies in its people’s attitudes and behaviors. To that end, we looked at three key stake-holder segments: healthcare providers, consumers (who are also often patients), and regulators and policymakers. We first considered the degree of trust and support for self-care among healthcare providers and patients/consumers respectively. Then we sought to measure the extent to which patients and consumers understand the complementary power of medicinal and non-medicinal approaches to self-care. Lastly, we looked for proof that regulators and policymakers have an understanding of self-care and its benefits for health systems as well as for individuals.

Based on our quantitative and qualitative analyses, stakeholder support and adoption was highest in the United Kingdom, China, and Thailand, and lowest in Poland.

1.1 Trust in and support for self-care among healthcare providers

1.2 Trust in and support for self-care among patients and consumers

1.3 Policymakers have an understanding of self-care

Indicator 1.1

The extent to which healthcare providers support, value, and adopt self-care products and behavior; provide useful, accurate information to patients; and recommend self-care products for prevention and first-line treatment.

Indicator 1.2

The extent to which members of the public support self-care products and behaviors and view them as their preferred means for prevention and first-line treatment.

Indicator 1.3

The extent to which policymakers are familiar with the term “self-care” and can articulate its health and cost-saving benefits.

Enabler 2


2.1 Access to personal health data

2.2 Consumer health literacy

2.3 Self-testing

2.4 Digital tools for self-care

Indicator 2.1

The extent to which individuals can easily access their own health data, with self-care products and practices included in health records (paper and electronic) alongside details on prescriptions.

Indicator 2.2

The extent to which a country’s government systematically strives to improve the health literacy of its people, and the extent to which consumers understand their own health, the risks, symptoms and treatments for common health conditions, and the role that self-care products and practices, can play in both preventing and treating these conditions.

Indicator 2.3

The extent to which a country provides incentives for patients
to self-care by making self-testing products and self-monitoring devices available and potentially reimbursed.

Indicator 2.4

The extent to which a country enables individuals to access apps and other digital tools to prevent or treat self-limiting conditions and access trusted information on self-care products and practices.

Enabler 3


3.1 Self-care in health policies

3.2 Policy actions conducted to raise awareness on the safe use of
otc medicines and encourage the adoption of a healthier lifestyle

3.3 Recognition of traditional and complementary medicine (tcm) within health policy

Indicator 3.1

The extent to which self-care is part of major health policy documents within a country.

Indicator 3.2

The extent to which policy makers invest time and resources in prevention campaigns targeting the general public and health providers.

Indicator 3.3

The extent to which the health system recognizes TCM.

Enabler 4


4.1 Approval process

4.2 Drug reclassification

4.3 Access and distribution

4.4 Advertising and pricing

Indicator 4.1

Globally, there are typically two to three regulatory levels for drug access.

Indicator 4.2

Among the countries in the 2022 Index, Australia, Colombia, Mexico, Canada, Singapore, Indonesia, and Germany have established Rx-to- OTC switch processes in place. Kenya has a process as well, though it is less robust than other countries.

Indicator 4.3

In most countries covered in the 2022 Index, OTCs, medical devices, and other self-care products are available in pharmacies and in general stores. Most restrictive countries can be found in Europe.

Indicator 4.4

Advertising rules for OTCs are clearly established in most countries examined in the Index, and most countries request pre-review by the regulators.

The Self-Care Readiness Index Reports