News

Endometriosis march declared a success

BY TANESHA MUNDLE Observer staff reporter mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, March 15, 2014    

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HUNDREDS of Jamaicans on Thursday participated in the historic Million Woman March to raise awareness about endometriosis, an illness that affects about 100,000 women in the island and 176 million worldwide.

The march, which began exactly at 11:00 am at Devon House in St Andrew, was part of a worldwide march that occurred simultaneously in over 53 cities to bring awareness to the gynaecological condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterine cavity. This often results in pain and infertility.

The large group of local marchers, who were mostly clad in yellow — the colour associated with the disease — were led by Patron Lady Allen, wife of Governor General Sir Patrick Allen. They marched, skipped and danced to music from the Holy Trinity Marching Band and a music truck from Devon House, along Trafalgar Road and on to Emancipation Park.

Lady Allen said that she was heartened by the turnout of the men and hoped that the march will pave the way for funding to carry out research on the illness.

"Over the years I have suffered from painful menstrual periods, so giving my support was the easiest thing to do and I hope this awareness will go a far way in helping doctors to be more acutely aware that all pain is not just PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) but could be the dreadful endometriosis and also that funding will be given for more research to see if this disease can be prevented in anyway," she said.

Head of the European Union, Paola Amadei, who participated in the march, commended the Jamaican Government for declaring March Endometriosis Month, and the Better Awareness and Support for Endometriosis (BASE) Foundation for bringing awareness to the disease.

"This is a disease that knows no borders and we consider this our task to promote human rights, and the right to health is one of these human rights; and at the same time it is important that women affected by the disease are diagnosed early and get proper treatment and that they find the courage to come out because there is a lot of stigma associated with the disease," she said.

Also supporting the march were Custos of Kingston Steadman Fuller, businesswoman Thalia Lyn, business consultant Aubyn Hill and Miss Jamaica World 2013 Gina Hargitay, an ambassador for endometriosis.

Meanwhile, co-founder of the BASE Foundation, Shauna Fuller-Clarke, said she was very encouraged by the support.

"This was very awesome for us. We had a very large crowd and persons have been so supportive and our aim was to raise awareness and I think we did that today," she said.

"This has been overwhelming, and it gives us hope that in Jamaica endometriosis is a word that people will be familiar with and outside of that can support each other and with everything going on in Jamaica with the violence, the crime, the level of education this awareness gives us hope for our country," Fuller-Clarke added.

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