In 2012, “Mesh Down Under” a facebook support group, started in New Zealand.
In late 2014, Carolyn (Caz) Chisholm founded the Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group (APMSG) on facebook. Kim Blieschke, (Co-Founder of MIA) was one of the six original members, providing support and continued lobbying whilst connecting with overseas groups for the women affected by transvaginal mesh in Australia.
Kim and Caz went to meet Senator Derryn Hinch in October.
Kim stated “At this time we had approached a number of agencies and Members of Parliament and no one would listen. On 3rd October 2016, Senator Hinch offered an appointment for 10:00 the next morning. Caz and myself flew to Melbourne to take up the opportunity.
Senator Hinch was shocked and saddened to hear the plight of so many women in Australia and promised to help us by giving a speech about Transvaginal Mesh in the Senate.”
Senator Hinch lobbied and was granted a Senate Inquiry into the use of Transvaginal Mesh. The Senate Community Affairs Committee invited submissions over the coming months, which hundreds of mesh injured women provided. Click here to view the submissions.
Once the submission period ended, the Committee held hearings in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Canberra, where many brave women stood and told their harrowing stories. Many tears were shed during these hearings by both the women and the politicians present.
If you wish to view the transcripts from these hearings, click on this link.
At that time, there were limited statistics about the extent of mesh injury in Australia. Health Consumer groups, led by Danny Vadasz from Health Issues Centre (Victoria), were instrumental in conducting surveys to support their submission to the Senate Inquiry. Click here to view the great work done by HIC.
A group of mesh injured women from various States in Australia started a conversation to form an entity which would be an official organisation/association, to provide strength to lobby for further support.
Representatives from each State began working with health services over many months. As momentum grew, our charter became clear; to put together an organisation which would support all mesh injured for the whole of Australia.
In May 2018, three of these mesh injured mums made formal application to start the process, with the support of Health Consumers NSW Executive Officer, Anthony Brown.
In July 2018, Mesh Injured Australia Incorporated received its incorporation, charity status granted with Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission (ACNC), full tax concessions and deductible gift recipient status (DGR) with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).