Endometriosis New Zealand (ENZ) is calling for government action to follow the release of Aotearoa New Zealand’s first Women’s Health Strategy developed by Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health.
The strategy was released today, referencing endometriosis a number of times stating, “We heard that women with endometriosis are affected by lack of available information around menstrual health, as well as being unfairly affected by a lack of management and treatment guidance for health practitioners, and limited availability of specialist treatments”.
“We’re pleased the Strategy specifically acknowledges the significant health and wellbeing burden endometriosis has on an estimated 120,000 New Zealanders,” says ENZ Chief Executive Tanya Cooke.
“This is a promising start but as we learnt from the publication of best practice guidance for the diagnosis and management of endometriosis in 2020, words alone will not improve the lives of individuals with endometriosis who are still waiting an average of eight years between onset of symptoms and diagnosis.
“For the Women’s Health Strategy to be successful, it must be backed up with a specific action plan and underpinned by funding and resources. We look forward to engaging with the Ministry as it works to bring the Strategy to life.
In line with our advocacy efforts, we are also calling for the development of a national endometriosis action plan, similar to that which was successfully implemented in Australia. This will provide a clear blueprint to tackle endometriosis through education and awareness, clinical management and care, and research.”
ENZ’s submission on the Women’s Health Strategy was supported by Aotearoa New Zealand’s two other endometriosis charities, Insight Endometriosis and Endo Warriors Aotearoa. It outlines many of the issues leading to delayed diagnosis and fragmented quality of care including a lack of endometriosis education in primary healthcare; patients experiencing long delays to see gynaecologists and other specialists; limited access to publicly funded ultrasounds, MRIs and hormonal treatment options; and no New Zealand network of tertiary referral centres for complex endometriosis surgery.
“New Zealand women, girls and those assigned female at birth living with endometriosis deserve urgent progress and we hope the Women’s Health Strategy can be the catalyst for change.”
Endometriosis New Zealand’s original submission on the Women’s Health Strategy can be found below
The Women’s Health Strategy can be found below