Emotional Wellness: Endometriosis Foundation of Kenya

 

It is Endometriosis Awareness Month and in light of this, we are going to introduce #EndoWarriors,  #EndoSisters and #EndoPartners to Endometriosis Foundation of Kenya formed in support and awareness of all those directly and indirectly affected by Endometriosis. But first….. Do you what Endometriosis is?

Endometriosis

This is commonly known as ‘killer cramps’ but the medical term for this ‘invisible’ disease is endometriosis.  Endometriosis is a disease in which tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus (called “the endometrium”), is found outside the uterus, where it induces a chronic inflammatory reaction that may result in scar tissue.  It is primarily found on the pelvic peritoneum, ovaries, in the recto-vaginal septum, on the bladder, and bowel.

Endometriosis affects an estimated 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years (i.e. usually between the ages of 15 to 49), which is approximately 176 million women in the world.  It is proven to have devastating effects on quality of a woman’s life due to its painful symptoms.  Some of them include painful periods, painful ovulation, pain during or after sexual intercourse, abnormal bleeding, chronic pelvic pain & fatigue.  Additionally, it is the 3rd cause of infertility in women, and it carries a huge personal and societal cost.

There is no known cause or cure of endometriosis but it is highly likely that certain genes predispose women to develop the disease. Thus, women have a higher risk of developing endometriosis if their mother and/or sister(s) are also affected. It is also likely that environmental factors influence whether a woman is affected: for example, in a few papers it has been suggested that endometriosis is caused by exposure to dioxin (an environmental pollutant), although to date there is no proven link.

 

You may be having endometriosis or know someone close to you experiencing this and they feel all alone and are suffering in silence. Endometriosis as any chronic or invisible illness causes a lot of emotional and mental distress that may lead to depression and hence the need for a support system. Having a group that knows what you are experiencing, supports you through those difficult moments and works towards creating awareness makes the journey bearable and hence we introduce Endometriosis Foundation of Kenya.

 

Endometriosis Foundation of Kenya

The Endometriosis Foundation of Kenya works to raise awareness and provide meaningful care for girls, women and families in Kenya who suffer as a result of endometriosis.  The Foundation was launched in October 2014.

We work to achieve the following objectives:

  • To raise awareness & improve knowledge of the prevalence and the management of endometriosis in Kenya.
  • To improve society’s understanding of, and support for women suffering from endometriosis.
  • To influence Governments’ policy in Kenya on the management of endometriosis.
  • To improve treatment options in Kenya for women suffering from endometriosis.

A general lack of awareness of Endometriosis combined with a “normalization” of symptoms results in a significant delay from when a woman first experiences symptoms until she eventually is diagnosed and treated.  The Foundation was launched as a platform for women to come together and have real conversations about the disease, medical interventions & natural options for easing the effects of the symptoms.  We engage in conversations to raise awareness of the disease through social media as a build up to World Endometriosis Day/Awareness month in March 2016.  The activities aims to raise awareness about this hidden and often unrecognized condition. Our hope is that we can engage with key stakeholders, women suffering with Endometriosis, to champion the cause and the medical field to partner with EFK in activities to raise awareness in high schools and universities as well as caring for the women who suffer the effects of the disease.

Our board members jointly oversee the activities of the EFK and represent the interests of the entity’s stakeholders, and are experts in fields of nutrition, medical science, legal and many others.

Our activities for 2016 will be centered around raising awareness on digital platforms and hosting monthly awareness forums, spearheading local research on statistics of women suffering with endometriosis, communication of pain management through medical and lifestyle change interventions, establishing partnerships with Endometriosis OBGYN specialists and nutritionist to provide a holistic solution for the women in improving their livelihood.

 

A word from the founder…

Written by Elsie Wandera, Founder – Endometriosis Foundation of Kenya

On Saturday, March 5th, 2016 the Endometriosis Foundation of Kenya was privileged to host the 1st Endometriosis Awareness Forum attended by 25 men and women.  We had the opportunity of hosting a Scientist who has special interest in the pathogenesis of Endometriosis called Dr. Mutinda Kyama.  When I listened to his presentations it was heavy with science jargon but all I saw was the endless opportunities for the women suffering with Endometriosis in Kenya.  “What if, just what if Kenya leads the world in the discovery of a cure of this disease?  What if we discovered new and faster methods of diagnosing this condition without using invasive methods?  What if…just what if?”

I was so heart broken when I listened to the many stories that women shared on that day and I told myself, “If this is the reason God had me start this organization – to provide a platform for women to come and share their pain and find solutions for it, then it is all worth it”


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A general lack of awareness combined with a “normalization” of symptoms results in a significant delay from when a woman first experiences symptoms until she eventually is diagnosed and treated.  EFK has been raising awareness of the disease through social media as a build up to World Endometriosis Day/Awareness since last year as March is Endometriosis Awareness Month.

Endometriosis Awareness Forum aims to raise awareness about this hidden and often unrecognized condition. My hope is that I can engage with key stakeholders to champion the cause and the medical field to partner with EFK in activities in high schools and universities as well as caring for the women who suffer the effects of the disease.

The one thing we can do for the women who are out there is to help them be aware of this condition and also give financial support to those affected by it and do not have medical insurance.  These women also need counselling because this condition affects not only their physical but their mental and emotional wellbeing.

If men championed this campaign, I believe the stigma around it would reduce significantly.  Periods are normal…that is the way God chose to design a woman to enable her do the most sacred of all things…conceive and bring a child into this world.  There is nothing wrong with women who are going through this journey except how we treat them during this delicate period.

Extend these women love…extend them care…#SpreadTheYellow by helping us raise awareness in the month of March so that the world hears the voices of women who are suffering in silence.

 

Attached is the EndoAwareness-Panel-Partners-Bios

To reach Endometriosis Foundation Of Kenya

Facebook: Endometriosis Foundation of Kenya

Twitter: @EndoFound254

Instagram: EndoJourney254

Email: endometriosis254@gmail.com

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#SpreadTheYellow #EndometriosisAwareness #EndoWarriors #EndoSisters #EndoPartners #YourVoiceMatters

#LindaAfya #MyHealthMyResponsibility

 

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LindaAfya is our platform as warriors to create and raise awareness on health issues both chronic and invisible illnesses that affect us. #YourVoiceMatters #MyHealthMyResposibility

1 Comment

  1. Thanks be to God. so someone is here for such people. I am a man but on meeting a friend who suffers from such a condition I decided to research about it. Endometriosis is deadly, silent and expensive– just from the little knowledge I have gathered about it. My word to the founders is THANK YOU. May God open ways for you to raise funds and assist the many women suffering from this situation yet not even do they know about it. Can we men join the foundation as well? Asante sana sisters.

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