VP commends supermodel for exposing rare disease

18Apr 2016
Felister Peter
The Guardian
VP commends supermodel for exposing rare disease

VICE President Samia Hassan Suluhu has commended Tanzanian supermodel Millen Magesse for being courageous to speak out on her disease, endometriosis, and spearheading efforts towards its cure.

Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan (r) consoles Fausta Andreas and her daughter Vailet Michael (2) who is admitted to Morogoro Regional hospital during her official visit in the region yesterday.

“Magesse is a hero because through her, many people, especially young girls and women, are aware of the disease,” said the VP during an award presentation ceremony which took place at her residency in Dar es Salaam over the weekend. The disease affects six in every 100 women.

Magesse, who is currently an endometriosis ambassador, presented to the VP some of her awards that she has won despite her health issues. Some of the awards are 2015 BET Global Good, BBC Unsung Hero of 2015, Malkia wa Nguvu and the ‘Humanitarian Award’ from Swahili Fashion Week in 2014.

Suluhu assured the government support to Millen Magesse Foundation, insisting on helping her realise the dream of constructing a hospital that will specifically deal with endometriosis and other women diseases.

“Your decision to return home is commendable; the government will give you all the support necessary. We appreciate the ongoing efforts to educate young girls and women on health issues,” she said, urging the celebrated beauty queen to maintain the good work and assist the community.

Earlier, Magesse appealed to the government to provide her foundation with an area for construction of the hospital. She said her goal is to spread information about the disease and ensure availability of its treatment as it is with other diseases like malaria.

“Very few people are aware of the disease, only a few hospitals in the country can make its diagnosis” she said, stressing that with government support she can reach out to more young girls throughout Tanzania.

Endometriosis is a disease in which tissue that normally grows inside the uterus grows outside it.[1] The main symptoms are pelvic pain and infertility.
Nearly half of those affected have chronic pelvic pain, while in 70 percent pain occurs during menstruation. Pain during sex is also common. Infertility occurs in up to half of women affected. The cause is not entirely clear.

Magesse said her foundation works within and outside Tanzania, and that so far she has been able to get some hospital equipment from a US based organisation worth over 100m/-. She requested the government to help facilitate transport logistics and on import levy.

She said her long-term plans are to facilitate endometriosis training for more local doctors through Millen Magesse Foundation which will bring doctors from abroad to exchange knowledge with and train Tanzania doctors.

Millen has struggled with the disease since she was 13 years old. She has been experiencing chronic pelvic pain during her menstrual cycle and has now decided to speak out about the disease after suffering for more than 23 years and undergoing 13 surgeries.

Last month she conducted a health seminar to more than 400 secondary school girls in Dar es Salaam.