Self-Care in Latin America: Improving and Supporting Healthcare Systems Sustainability

Watch a discussion on how to integrate self-care as a cornerstone of public health policy in Latin America.


  • Uwe May, Dean of Studies, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences
  • Flávia Morais, Federal Deputy, Chamber of Deputies of Brazil
  • Judy Stenmark, Director General, Global Self-Care Federation
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, AS/COA, Washington

As part of the Healthcare Series, Council of the Americas held a virtual program centered around the importance of self-care in promoting both individual health and sustainability in healthcare systems.

Judy Stenmark of the Global Self-Care Federation defined self-care as the practice of “people becoming active self-managers of their own health, doing what it takes to become healthy.” Self-care encompasses making informed decisions—sometimes with the support of healthcare professionals. 

During the conversation, Uwe May of Fresenius University emphasized the global relevance of self-care, its economic and social advantages, and the crucial role of policies and education in promoting the concept. She shared that governments need to play a key role in “fostering health literacy, leveraging technology and digital solutions.” 

Brazilian Federal Deputy Flávia Morais spoke about her efforts to promote self-care “as an opportunity to improve the health of the population” and to “reduce health inequalities.” 

Panelists agreed that the benefits of self-care are substantial, including reducing the duration and severity of minor health conditions, providing significant economic and social benefits, and saving healthcare systems considerable costs. In Latin America, that adds up to $7 billion saved annually.