Despite affecting one in ten Australian women, endometriosis is a medical condition that’s notoriously under-recognised in both medical and public spheres.
But in a move that the Australian Minister for Health Greg Hunt has described as “long overdue”, the government is developing the first National Action Plan to facilitate awareness, education, diagnosis, treatment of, and research into this chronic disease. They recognised that the condition – in which tissue that is similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of it resulting in chronic pain and fertility issues – has significant social, economic and psychosocial impacts on sufferers.
“Diagnosis currently takes seven to ten years on average, largely due to a lack of awareness and understanding of the condition among primary healthcare professionals,” Minister Hunt said in a statement.
To inform the plan, they want to hear the diverse perspectives, experience and knowledge of anyone affected by this debilitating disease, including the sufferers themselves, their families, carers, health care professionals, researchers and non-government organisations.
“I am determined to do more to support endometriosis sufferers around Australia and I encourage people to have their say and make sure we have the best possible National Endometriosis Action Plan going forward,” he said.
Founder and CEO of Endometriosis Australia, Donna Ciccia, tells Women’s Health that this consultation process is incredibly important.
“This is so important because now everyone gets the opportunity to have their say, to have their story told, their thoughts, their wants, their needs, shared.”
“The government staying sorry meant to much to women with endometriosis and the understanding that their voices are being heard is really important. It validates years of not being heard or understood.”