News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Hidden suffering of endometriosis in NZ

Media release, April 20th 2006

Waiting list crisis unmasks hidden suffering of tens of thousands of women - urgent government action needed

There's a call today for urgent government action following media exposure this week of the crippling cost of endometriosis in New Zealand.

News of further surgical waiting list cuts will deepen the pain of the country's 128,000 endometriosis sufferers, many of whom - like the 15-year-old in this week's story - are living restricted lives, often just getting by on band-aid measures and painkillers.

Endometriosis hit media headlines this week with the news that a 15-year-old Christchurch girl has been dropped off a surgical waiting list despite having maximum points.

New Zealand Endometriosis Foundation CEO Deborah Bush says this young woman's quality of life is being severely compromised as she battles chronic pain.

"It's not only the raft of medication that she has to take to stabilise the effects of the disease and help her cope emotionally, it's also the months of missed schooling which compromises her future - and despite this, funding constraints mean her local DHB can offer no guarantee of surgery within the next six months."

Ms Bush is calling on the government to recognise the condition as one that needs urgent action, starting with a national strategy.

"Endometriosis is barely recognised by our government, and that has devastating effects all the way along the line - from funding and awareness through to diagnosis and treatment. There is no official strategy to address it at a national level, and not even official clinical treatment guidelines. Until endometriosis is officially recognised as a serious health threat, and steps taken to address it, the 15 - 20% of the female population impacted will continue to be short-changed." Ms Bush says that while the human costs of endometriosis are high, the economic costs to the whole of society are staggering. "At an individual level, lifestyle and fertility are severely impacted. At a fiscal level, it is estimated that endometriosis costs at least NZ$275 million in lost workplace productivity alone - without even starting on the social and medical costs."

Ms Bush says that while some internationally acclaimed work is being done at a local level - notably in Canterbury, where a world-first education, awareness and treatment programme has been launched through a collaboration of public and private providers - New Zealand's lack of cohesive strategy to tackle the disease sees our central government lagging behind the rest of the world.

"Even without additional funding for treatment or surgical intervention, at a local level, we have managed to make significant differences in the lives of thousands of Canterbury women and girls. This is a model that could easily be used as the basis for a national approach - but government has to recognise the seriousness of this issue first."

Ms Bush says recent European action can provide a role model for New Zealand to take action on the disease:

• The European Parliament has prepared a written declaration on endometriosis (with 30% support - the highest number of signatures ever achieved for a health issue) • The UK has an All Party Parliamentary Working Group conducting research and promoting change • Austria has adopted women's health and endometriosis as a target health issue for 2006 • The Italian Senate has taken a big step towards the official recognition of endometriosis and the need for improved therapeutic options/funding by holding an investigation into endometriosis as a social disease.

"There are thousands more young girls just like this 15-year-old who need help from their government, today, to get the early intervention and diagnosis they need to avoid a lifetime of pain and debilitation. As a nation, we're failing these girls and women right now - it's time somebody sat up and took some notice."

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Howard Davis Review: The Minstrel in The Gallery - Sam Hunt's Selected Poems

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Sam Hunt's poetry is its quality of urgent authenticity. Encountering this latest compilation, the reader is immediately struck by its easy accessibility, tonal sincerity, and lack of linguistic pretension ... More>>

A Matter Of Fact: Truth In A Post-Truth World

How do we convincingly explain the difference between good information and misinformation? And conversely, how do we challenge our own pre-conceived notions of what we believe to be true? More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: The Road To Unfreedom

Valerie Morse: Yale professor of history Tim Snyder publishes a stunning account of the mechanisms of contemporary Russian power in US and European politics. In telling this story he presents both startling alarms for our own society and some mechanisms of resistance. More>>

ALSO:

Doing Our Bit: An Insider's Account Of New Zealand Political Campaigning

In 2013, Murdoch Stephens began a campaign to double New Zealand’s refugee quota. Over the next five years he built the campaign into a mainstream national movement – one that contributed to the first growth in New Zealand’s refugee quota in thirty years. More>>

Te Papa: Two Reviews Into Care For Collections

Te Papa will take additional time to consider the best way to deliver its collections care function, including undertaking an independent review into the care of its natural history collections. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland