Press Release 17th March 2023
Endometriosis New Zealand (ENZ) is calling for a national action plan for endometriosis as part of its submission on the proposed Women’s Health Strategy being developed by Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health.
“We’re calling for Manatū Hauora to follow international best practice and acknowledge the significant health and wellbeing burden endometriosis has by including endometriosis in Aotearoa New Zealand’s first Women’s Health Strategy,” says ENZ Chief Executive Tanya Cooke.
“We are also advocating for a national endometriosis action plan to be developed like what has been done in Australia. This will provide a clear blueprint to tackle endometriosis through education and awareness, clinical management and care, and research.”
Cooke says despite the fact endometriosis is estimated to affect 120,000 New Zealanders, the health system has long failed those with endometriosis.
“Individuals with endometriosis usually has an average eight-year delay between onset of symptoms and diagnosis. We know from our work in the community that this can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life, mental health and fertility.” ENZ’s submission, which is also supported by Aotearoa New Zealand’s two other endometriosis charities, Insight Endometriosis and Endo Warriors Aotearoa, outlines many of the issues leading to this delayed diagnosis and fragmented quality of care.
“There’s a lack of endometriosis education in primary healthcare, patients can experience long delays to see gynaecologists and other specialists, there is limited access to publicly funded ultrasounds, MRIs and hormonal treatment options, and there is no New Zealand network of tertiary referral centres for complex endometriosis surgery.”
Cooke says despite the Ministry of Health publishing best practice guidance for the diagnosis and management of endometriosis in 2020, they have not addressed the situation.
“Three years on little progress has been made in implementing them due to a lack of resourcing and prioritisation. New Zealand women, girls and those assigned female at birth deserve far more urgent progress in addressing the issues plaguing endometriosis diagnosis, treatment and care.”
Tanya Cooke (she/her)
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