The country of New Zealand has become the first in the world to fully ban transvaginal mesh implantation procedures.
Mesh Ban: Anti-Mesh Actions
Shortly after New Zealand’s Minister of Health, David Clark reportedly met with health agencies and advocacy group Mesh Down Under, Ministry of Health spokesman, Dr. Stewart Jessamine, announced on the radio that transvaginal mesh suppliers have been asked to stop marketing the mesh until its safety has been fully proven.
He confirmed the companies are “effectively […] agreeing to no longer sell these products […] in New Zealand from the 4th of January.”
Dr. Jessamine has been lauded for his health advocacy work and involvement in public medical safety as a former Group Manager of The New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe).
Women Fighting for Women
Two weeks after Canadian anti-mesh campaigner Christina Brajcic of Ontario fatally succumbed to antibiotic-resistant sepsis developed from mesh complications, Medsafe said in a statement, “As a consequence of the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration review of surgical mesh for urogynaecological use, and subsequent regulatory action, there is cause for Medsafe to question the safety of certain devices.”
New Zealand’s Minister of Women Julie-Anne Genter considers the ban “an important step to preventing more women from being put in the potentially harmful situation too many New Zealand women have already experienced.”
An eight-year study conducted in the U.K. observed 92,246 women for complications following vaginal mesh implantation. Among the findings released last year was that the “complication rate within 5 years of the mesh procedure was 9.8%”.
In Ottowa, Canada, Nonie Wideman has filed a petition to the House of Commons demanding a temporary mesh ban for procedures after she developed bouts of pain and severe fatigue. Wideman’s symptoms progressively worsened until she found small blue pieces of mesh in her urine. Despite growing public concern, surgeons in Canada still espouse mesh’s benefits.