Bonjour, mes amis! How’s it going on this beautiful day? Anyone of you spent some time on twitter as of late? Yes? No? Well. If you did and hang out in the femtech & women’s health twitterverse, you may have come across a recent tweet, that turned French President Emmanuel Macron into somewhat of a.. *taking a deep breath*… FEMTECH ICON. (Yes. I lol’ed as I was writing this. Yolo. Don’t @ me.)
On a serious note though… In case you missed it: Our “unlikely hero” Emmanuel Macron took to twitter earlier this week to talk about endometriosis and to introduce a new National Strategy for France to raise awareness, increase research and improve treatment for the condition that affects roughly 1 in 10 women.
L’endométriose.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) January 11, 2022
Ce n’est pas un problème de femmes, c’est un problème de société. La stratégie nationale que nous lançons porte l’espoir d’une meilleure qualité de vie pour des millions de filles et de femmes. pic.twitter.com/86IJj005wU
For those of you who don’t speak French. The tweet translates to this: “Endometriosis. It is not a problem of women, it is a problem of society. The national strategy we are launching brings hope for a better quality of life for millions of girls and women.”
“Sounds good! But wait… What is endometriosis again?”
So essentially in women with endometriosis tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus. This often leads to pelvic pain that often correlates with the menstrual cycle. The majority of women with endometriosis also report additional symptoms such as migraine, depression, anxiety, IBS, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, uterine fibroids, or ovarian cysts. Women with endometriosis are also at slightly higher risk for several types of cancer (e.g. ovarian cancer), systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease.
As the symptoms of the disease are not easily recognized as endometriosis – by healthcare providers and affected women – many experience a significant diagnostic delay (10+ years), which can lead to many years of living with the painful chronic condition without any help or treatment. Pas bien. As the French would say…
“Got it. So about this plan? What’s that all about?“
Let’s take a closer look. 👀
The goal of this new National Strategy in France is to boost the understanding and awareness of endometriosis, as well as to improve diagnostics and care. Much of this plan has been developed based on the work of MEP and gynecologist Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, who’s an expert in the field and just this week submitted her latest report to the government outlining how they can help.
As cornerstones of the new plan she suggests:
- Each region shall be allocated at least one Center of Expertise, supported by national funding.
- A group of research teams shall be assembled to study the condition holistically (diagnostics, treatment, impact).
- Campaigns shall be created to educate members of the public and healthcare professionals and help them develop a better understanding of the condition and its impact.
In charge of this effort is French Health Minister Olivier Veran, who will now appoint a dedicated committee tasked with developing an action plan and eventually also implementing it. The committee’s first meeting is planned for February and we look forward to seeing what they come up with!
So? Iconic Emmanuel?
To answer our initial (not all that serious #clickbait) question whether or not Emmanuel Macron is the newest “femtech icon” we’ve all been waiting for… Well… Time will tell how many resources will be allocated to this initiative and how effective is will be in the end. The awareness for endometriosis generated by this initial announcement for sure is helpful and appreciated.
We’ll be following closely as this effort progresses and the new action plan takes shape. For many women living with endometriosis, who have been suffering for years this is a small and much overdue glimpse of hope.
So maybe in the spirit of optimism we can all take a bit of a leap of faith today, trust that change is indeed possible and that sometimes momentum and awareness can start somewhat unexpectedly in unlikely places, such as Emmanuel Macron’s twitter account.
In the end we sure hope that the is just the beginning and that, as this National Endometriosis Strategy evolves, we will see more funding for education, research, diagnostics and treatment (in France and beyond) and most importantly that more women living with the chronic condition will receive the help they so desperately need and deserve.
What do you think about this new effort in France? Yay or nay? Let us know in the comments if you like!