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The government announced an endometriosis funding plan. Here's why endo sufferers are angry.

If you're a person with ovaries, chances are you've heard about the recent announcement regarding endometriosis. But in case you missed it, the federal government has pledged $58m to be spent on the diagnosis and treatment of the condition.

The package is set to provide funding for two specialist treatment clinics in each state and territory. The new clinics promise to include GPs specialising in women’s health and pain management, as well as nurses, allied health professionals (such as dietitians, physiotherapists and psychologists) and educators.

The government package also includes funding to access MRI scans, and money for patient management plans and research.  

Watch: Answers guys need to know about endometriosis. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

This is obviously massive news for the thousands upon thousands of Aussies suffering from endometriosis - an excruciating and debilitating condition that currently one in nine women live with.

That's an estimated 830,000 people in Australia alone. Huge.

Off the back of the announcement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison also revealed his wife, Jenny, suffers from the condition. 

Yet, despite how common it is, there has been arguably little progress at the forefront of endometriosis - with many women facing misdiagnosis for years. There is also currently no prevention, no known cause and no cure.

And while this funding package may be seen as a positive step in supporting endometriosis research, development and patient care, many people have questions. Particularly when it comes to where the funding is being sent.

According to the Australian women Mamamia spoke to, the majority of this funding appears to be confusing and mismanaged.

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For example, the government package fails to mention any sort of funding for expert excision surgeries - which is the gold standard of care for endometriosis. In fact, it doesn't mention any further training in this area at all.

While a large component of the funding has been allocated to MRI scans, many women are questioning this decision due to the fact that endometriosis cannot be reliably detected through MRI. 

The only way to currently achieve an official diagnosis is through excision surgery and histological testing. As the only successful means of diagnosis, many are wondering why these tools aren't covered in the funding package.

So, what do these changes really mean for real women struggling with the condition? And is the funding being sent into the right areas? 

Here's what Australian women really think.

Tara.

"Us endo sufferers are angry and tired and many of us need real help now. If surgeries were given higher priority and covered by Medicare it would immediately help so many women. How about making Mirena insertions free? Did they consult with patients and doctors to understand where the need is? Endometriosis costs our economy $7.4 billion every year. So, 58 million is not a lot by that measure."

Karleen.

"What concerns me is that any surgery for endometriosis is elective surgery - it’s definitely not "elective", and for me was only covered in top hospital cover. I don’t think it will make it [any] easier to afford the surgery, but I hope I’m wrong."

Alicia.

"[I'm] not grateful for stuff that should have already been done given the prevalence of endo and the suffering it causes. Pi**ed off that it took Jen’s experience to get it across the line. I guess some women’s experiences and suffering are more important... The whole thing reeks of ‘throw something at the women so no one can say we’re not for the women’. Too little too late. Fund the clinics and acknowledge it’s been too long coming, and apologise for the wait."

Rebecca.

"It seems like a last-minute breadcrumb thrown at women. Two treatment centres in the whole of Queensland is hardly going to scratch the surface."

Emily.

"Firstly, this has been promised before and not delivered. Secondly, the amount of money they are promising won't actually achieve much given how many women experience endo. Thirdly, the majority of the funding is meant to go towards MRIs, which can't actually diagnose endo.

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This is a last-ditch effort to buy back some support by a government with a terrible record of caring about women's issues."

Victoria.

"What about training the specialists to begin with (who misdiagnose all the time)? Or researching causes/cures/treatments? Are we just going to get more places claiming to be specialists in endometriosis that actually aren't? Where's the funding for other women's health issues?

I estimate it took me over $10k (maybe even $20k) to get a diagnosis with another chronic pain condition. I finally found an amazing OB/GYN who diagnosed me, and after surgery, I felt incredible for a few years. Ironically, I ended up developing endometriosis, anyway - however, now that my OB/GYN has retired, I have to start the process again. I just can't even bring myself to have to go through potentially another 12 years of searching for someone who knows how to actually care for these conditions. It's unbelievable!

We need specialists who are given the tools to diagnose and manage all sorts of women's health issues. And we need an answer to why we develop these conditions in the first place and funding to try to find a cure. It angers me so much."

Lavinia.

"I want more money spent on educating specialists... It has cost me so much energy, money, and time to find a knowledgeable GP and OB/GYN who will listen and care. Even then I am suffering with pain and biologically ageing out of fertility, all whilst waiting for elective surgery to actually diagnose endo via laparoscopy (at my expense)... We as women endure so much, and why? Because we are systemically marginalised - especially in terms of women's health care."

Rebecca.

"I just think that if they come up with a solution for pattern baldness, then surely more research into endometriosis would result in [less] women having to endure so much unnecessary pain."

Louise.

"So, treatment clinics in capital cities that already have specialists, equipment, etc? Yes - it's a very nice idea, but it’s a flash in the pan."

Tracy.

"As someone with diagnosed adenomyosis, along with my mum and sister, I’m not sure if this additional ‘promised’ funding will help anything. However, if there’s a chance that more scientists, researchers, and medical specialists are interested in the field as a result of the additional political publicity, then I welcome it."

What do you think of the recent endometriosis funding announcement? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Feature image: Getty

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