REMARKS BY HER EXCELLENCY THE MOST HONOURABLE LADY ALLEN (READ BY THE HON. STEADMAN FULLER, CUSTOS ROTULORUM FOR THE PARISH OF KINGSTON) AT THE MEDIA LAUNCH FOR THE BASE FOUNDATION MILLION WOMAN MARCH HELD AT TERRA NOVA HOTEL ON FEBRUARY 25, 2014

A very afternoon to you all!

Thank you so much for inviting me to speak on behalf of Shauna Fuller Clarke’s BASE Foundation.  My husband, the Governor General has asked me to convey to you his well wishes and his hope that this will be an unforgettable, successful event.

I want to speak with you about something that has been affecting many women and young girls around the world, including here in Jamaica.

Regrettably, we have some derogatory names for people who are in any way disabled.  This, I believe to be cultural and not necessarily that individuals are unkind.  The time has come for us to help change that culture by making people aware of the reasons why some females are unable to speak, bear children or have mental issues.

The Shauna Fuller Clarke’s BASE Foundation is about making individuals aware of what Endometriosis is and its effect, as well as to give support to women who are diagnosed.

We now know that Endometriosis is one of the top ten most painful diseases.  Estimates are that it affects at least 1 in 10 women and girls, usually of reproductive age.  Many go undiagnosed because the monthly menstrual cramps and pains are diagnosed as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, and so they are treated for the pain each month without exploration as to the reason.  Endometriosis is a silent disease like hypertension.  Ultimately, by the time correct diagnosis is found, the damages are irreparable.

Many women today are without children as a result of Endometriosis because the diagnosis came too late.  I would like every woman and every girl to have the right to a fast and early diagnosis.

Women and girls are to be made aware of the various causes of painful menstruation known as Dysmenorrhea.

According to Dr. Loren Hamil of Berrien Springs, Michigan, one episode of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy 10 fold, and produces infertility in 12%. Three (3) episodes of PID produce infertility in 75%.

Therefore every girl and every woman need to understand all of this in order to make sure that they are properly diagnosed early.

I am pleased that Jamaica is a participant in this global campaign – “A Million Woman March for Endometriosis and other chronic pelvic diseases” on March 13, 2014.

Since this is the first year that we are participating in this event, let us congratulate Shauna Fuller Clarke for making this possible.  Shauna Fuller Clarke has lived with Endometriosis for many years and thankfully she wants to free others from the pain and suffering she has experienced.

We want to thank BASE Foundation, the E.U. Delegation, Kingston Book Shop, Guardian Life Jamaica, Ship Wise, Lifespan Water, Jamaica Observer, Nationwide, Mr. Kenny Benjamin (Guardsman Group Limited), Ministry of Health, other Partners and the media for being a part of this historic event.

We laud you for your care towards our women and children, especially in these economically challenging times.

To the media, we ask that you continue to inform our people about Endometriosis every woman and every girl is aware.

I am also making an appeal to companies, organizations and individuals who would like to be a part of this historical March to come on board.  We need your support in order to bring light and hope to those who are suffering.

I ask everyone to kindly mark the date, March 13, 2014, on your calendar, and register now to participate in this event.  Come out in your numbers to support our women and girls.  Tell your friends and neighbours about it and get them to register now.  Greater awareness means quicker, more accurate diagnosis.

Thank you, may God bless you all and bless Jamaica, Land we love!