A program teaching South Australian high school students about the chronic menstrual health disorder endometriosis will be launched in South Australian schools thanks to joint funding from the Morrison and Marshall Governments.
The State and Federal Governments will each provide $140,000 for the Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia to run the Periods, Pain, Endometriosis Program (PPEP Talk) in high schools across the state.
Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the Pelvic Pain Foundation trialled a similar program in 10 metropolitan schools across Adelaide during a pilot last year.
“This funding will allow the PPEP Talk to be delivered to 80 schools in Adelaide and the regional centres of Port Lincoln, Mt Gambier, Port Augusta and Port Pirie,” Minister Hunt said.
“The program is supported by medical specialists to make sure students receive accurate and relevant information, and the qualified educators have the support they need.”
South Australian Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said students from schools that were part of the pilot program were more likely to seek appropriate support for their menstruation and endometriosis conditions.
“It is estimated that endometriosis affects at least one in 10 girls and women but for too long this condition has not received the attention it deserves,” Minister Wade said.
“The new schools program will allow students to learn how to recognise when menstruation symptoms are not normal and where to go for advice and help.”
South Australian Education Minister John Gardner said expanding the program – which is linked to the South Australian secondary school Year 9 and 10 curriculums – will raise awareness of endometriosis among young women.
“The initial pilot included a small number of schools, and this funding will enable us to gain a better understanding of the impact of the program by extending it to more schools,” Minister Gardner said.
“It will also allow us to assess how the program could be designed to be applied in rural and remote locations and within culturally diverse communities.”
Member for Boothby Nicolle Flint said education is the key to providing women with the information they need to get help from their GP for bad period pain, which could be caused by endometriosis.
“I am incredibly proud that South Australia will provide the first state-wide school education program on endometriosis,” Ms Flint said.
“I hope this will prevent another generation of women waiting on average seven years for a diagnosis and treatment and suffering terribly during that time.”
The program is supported by the National Action Plan for Endometriosis, which was announced by the Health Minister Greg Hunt earlier this year. The action plan has a very strong focus on community awareness, education, improved clinical services and research.
Endometriosis is a chronic menstrual health disorder that affects around 700,000 Australian women and girls. It often causes debilitating pain and organ damage and can lead to mental health issues, social and economic stress and infertility.
Many have suffered in silence for far too long, enduring diagnostic delays of between seven and twelve years on average.
The Morrison Government is investing $4.7 million in the National Action Plan for Endometriosis, which outlines a new approach to improving awareness and understanding of endometriosis, speeding up diagnosis, and developing better diagnostic and treatment options.