Who Self Cares Wins: Greater Action on Health Literacy Needed

05 April 2019

Return to Media Release Index

Men's health literacy and Self Care is addressed in a new report from Global Action on Men's Health (GAMH), Who Self-Cares Wins: A global perspective on men and self-care. The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) welcomed the report, which highlighted Australia as a leader in men's health policy but recognised that there is a way to go until men are empowered to practice Self Care with confidence.

Dr Deon Schoombie, CEO of ASMI, explained that "we know that by last measure, 60% of Australians have less than adequate levels of health literacy. That is simply not good enough and this report confirms health literacy as a key priority area for global improvement of men's health."

Health literacy is a key pillar of Self Care.

"Greater Self Care among men could lead to major improvements in health and wellbeing."

"While individuals should take responsibility for their own health, a multi-layered and systems-wide approach is needed to empower men to practice Self Care with confidence. The report commends the fact that Australia is one of only three countries to have a specific national men's health policy, along with Brazil and Ireland."

While most men do enough physical activity and do not smoke or drink alcohol -the report also reveals that men's health is unnecessarily poor.

"Australian men are less likely to seek help from primary healthcare services than women and globally, men are generally less likely to self-manage conditions or self-medicate appropriately."

The report's recommendations include:

  • the introduction of health policies, including national men's health policies, that recognise the needs of men,
  • that full account is taken of male gender norms in policy and service delivery,
  • the establishment of self-care as a strategic priority in public health policy and practice,
  • action to improve men's health literacy,
  • the development of health services that are more accessible to men,
  • better training in men's health for health and related professionals, and
  • accelerated research into improving men's engagement in self-care and better practical guidance for policymakers and practitioners.