Lack Of Resources Hampering Long Covid Recovery
ME Auckland who support people with chronic fatigue are warning that the lack of funding and financial support is hampering attempts to help those recovering from Covid-19.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex and disabling disease that affects many parts of the body, including the brain and muscles, as well as the digestive, immune and cardiac systems.
How many people do you know with ME/CFS?
In Auckland alone there are over 6000 people suffering from this debilitating illness and as the world battles with Covid we see more and more people being diagnosed.
Many think we haven’t had Covid here in NZ and while community cases may be low, Covid has affected the lives of many on the front lines and in quarantine.
Research in New Zealand shows that ME/CFS affects people's lives as severely as Parkinson's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. It is often triggered by a viral infection like glandular fever and now Covid-19. 10-12% of people who contract COVID find themselves with long covid which presents similarly to ME/CFS and many are subsequently being diagnosed with ME/CFS.
It’s ME/CFS awareness day on the 12 May, a date chosen as it’s the birthdate of Florence Nightingale. ME Auckland like the famous nurse helps people through their suffering. Case workers help with illness management solutions, mental health support, GP support and work and income advocacy, connections to other community organisations and facilitate online and face to face support groups.
Everyone who lives with ME/CFS is missing from the life they should be leading. There is currently no cure and there are no effective treatments.
For the lucky few, an early diagnosis can help with managing the symptoms of the illness before it comes acute. ME Auckland provides that early support and tries to help those suffering from the long-term effects of the illness.
Through ME Awareness day ME Auckland and Emerge Australia are profiling people who have the illness and their individual stories https://12may.org/gallery
The issue many people are facing is that there is little or no public health system support for people who are diagnosed from ME/CFS and ME Auckland is heavily reliant on small grants and public donations and needs more support to meet the growing need for their services. Many of its members are in financial difficulty and cannot afford the care they need to help manage their illness.
The economic cost to each family with a sufferer has been estimated to be in the region of NZ$35-45,000 per year. Associated New Zealand ME Society (ANZMES)
“ME Auckland helps people across New Zealand by providing case workers to visit people in Auckland with acute symptoms” said Kate Duder the Vice Chair of ME Auckland Board. “We are seeing huge demands for our services and with more and more people being diagnosed with the long-tail of Covid-19, we need to be able to support them”.
People who want to support ME Auckland or want to donate to help can through ME Auckland’s Givealittle page.
Getting the right information is crucial to effectively managing ME/CFS and there is a lot of misinformation out there! If you are a carer or sufferer of ME/CFS please don't hesitate to contact us.