Calls for action on more inclusive societies

In this decade of action, it is vital to co-operate and build partnerships in order to achieve the SDGs and their targets. The global challenges are numerous and in this report, we have chosen to focus on global hygiene and health issues where there is a lack of progress and where WSSCC and Essity can contribute with knowledge and solutions. We call on policy makers to consider the following calls for action:

  • Promote more inclusive societies. Effective hygiene and health practices evolves from shifting behavior and social norms. This shift requires long-term commitments from everyone, where we all play different roles. National policies need to support this transition by giving it special attention and putting financing behind. The silence and taboos on issues such as menstruation, incontinence and other stigmatizing conditions need to be broken. Policy makers also need to ensure dignity and promote equal opportunities. For example by:
    • Promoting of menstrual health literacy and education on the menstruation cycle at all levels can broaden understanding and help breaking taboos.
    • Funding research on women’s health can also unveil how menstruation affects women’s health and how to manage potential ill-health.
  • Endorse universal and inclusive policy. Hygiene and health are truly universal and are relevant to everyone everywhere. The human rights perspective is ever present. Policy should aim to have hygiene and health solutions accessible for all, including those with special needs. For example, individuals with incontinence can live more dignified and inclusive lives, if the right care policies are applied, and the right solutions are provided. This can be achieved by improving self-management, taking a total care pathway approach to toileting and containment care, as well as recognizing the important role of incontinence products. Furthermore, policy makers have an important role to play in setting procurement standards that create a demand for inclusive products and services.
  • Support person-centered care. Encourage and manifest person-centered care to empower both patients and healthcare professionals. By enabling health and social care systems to deliver person centered care better patient outcomes and care efficiencies can be achieved. Access to hygiene and health solutions often depend on certain policies and priorities, and equal access can contribute to more resilient, equal and sustainable societies. International bodies such as the WHO and OECD can therefore provide guidance on person-centered toileting and containment strategy provisions for individuals, their caregivers and society at large.
  • Promote value-based healthcare. Assess the overall value created for society rather than focus on the costs per piece or intervention. This is important to secure further investments in innovation, research, new ways of working and digitalization, which can result in better hygiene and health outcomes. It contributes to inclusion, empowerment and creates a value benefiting individuals and society as a whole. Outcome based rules, regulations and standards needs to be developed.