On 13th September 2023, the National Forum for Health & Wellbeing hosted the first of a series of seminars in collaboration with the School of Medicine and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) at the Harrington building  UCLAN, Preston.

The focus of the seminar was Women’s Health.

Despite women living on average four years longer than men, they live in poorer health and often suffer silently. Empowering women with knowledge on health matters can improve their quality of life and wellbeing.

An audience of around 70 plus were treated to an informed series of talks by respected professionals and dedicated volunteers.

Dr. Anita Sharma, GP, who has set up a national charity for endometriosis, provided a detailed, timely and very informative piece on endometriosis. This section was very well supported by Courtney Omerod, a 23-year-old suffer of endometriosis. The lively experience and personal description by Courtney laid bare the trials and struggles of her journey. Explaining her diagnosis then her treatment became very emotional. Supported by her father, Paul, it was plain to see how the whole family had been sharing the pain of endometriosis.

The next speaker, Najma Khalid MBE is a Community Worker based in the Oldham area. She talked about some of the difficulties that the BAME groups have in engaging with the health services. Najma went on to highlight how her idea of Chai centres have proved very effective in the local community to facilitate the coming to-gether of Asian women.

Another moving story came from Caroline Yates. She recounted her breast cancer surprise journey. Out of the blue she was diagnosed. Totally unprepared and shocked by her diagnosis. Caroline’s message to all women was regular personal checks, not to be embarrassed to go to the GP’s, and seek early advice. The audience reacted very sympathetically to Caroline’s announcement.

Dr Victoria Palin, from the University of Manchester, delivered a very detailed report from research that had been carried out on the subject of Post-Natal care and why it is important.

A lot of careful information was tabulated and illustrated that the lower end of the socio-economic scale was at risk at not being engaged with the health professionals during this important period.

The audience engaged overwhelmingly during Q &A session. The Q & A session was dominated by Dr Sharma and the topic of endometriosis. The audience held at least two women who had gone through the same difficulties as Courtney, an illustration of just how important this seminar has been.

The seminar was well presented and delivered very powerful message with personal stories from those who suffered from various problems such as endometriosis and breast cancer.

This was attended by a keen audience including many medical students and some staff members.

The feedback has been very positive and encouraging.

The next seminar will be held on 18th October at 1800 for 1830 at the Harrington building lecture theatre, Preston campus of UCLan. It is free to attend and no prior reservation is required. It will finish by 2000 hrs.

Report and pictures by Ian Smith