The World Health Organization (WHO) defines self-care as the ability of individuals, families, and communities to take charge of their own health, prevent diseases, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health worker. This definition is intended to influence health care policy by emphasizing behaviors that can be encouraged for the benefit of public health. On the other hand, the rational and responsible use of prescription drugs under the supervision of a physician is an important personal care activity in which the responsibility ultimately lies with the individual. In order to quantify personal care behavior at a personal level, a definition needs to be comprehensive in nature. Measurement can allow for the aspirations expressed in broader definitions of “policymaking” on personal care.
Additionally, a definition can serve to establish a research agenda aimed at exploring the factors that drive self-care behavior and new interventions to change it. The most popular definitions currently in use show broad agreement on the scope and purpose of personal care and place adequate emphasis on disease prevention, where changes in lifestyle and behavior are largely a matter of individual choice. Self-care interventions support people's needs and rights through a people-centered approach that is based on human rights and gender equality. Self-care is the power of people to prevent and treat diseases on their own, in the context of a supportive and safe environment. At the level of cities (or towns), self-care interventions should provide support for behaviors within the main domains or pillars of self-care. It is also important to establish links with the health system or have its support, especially when describing self-care as part of an ongoing process.