Cancer control is a large part of government’s plan to improve health care services in the Territory; this disclosure was made by His Excellency Governor Augustus Jaspert during the Speech from the Throne delivered on 14 November.

In his speech which outlines government’s legislative agenda for the new session of the House of Assembly Governor Jaspert announced: “The Public Health Ordinance (Cap. 194) will be amended to provide for the establishment of disease registries, including a National Cancer Registry.”

The Governor explained that once established this Registry will be part of a comprehensive Cancer Control Programme aimed at reducing the number of cancer cases and deaths and improving the overall quality of life of cancer patients.

The Governor’s announcement is welcomed news and puts the efforts that commenced in 2013 close to completion point. The announcement of the various strides was made in 2013 by then CEO of the BVI Health Services Authority Darlene Carty Baptiste.

Carty Baptiste announced that allotment was made in the in 2013/2014 budget of the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) for the development of a computerized tumor registry.

In that year’s BVIHSA budget, laid on the table of the House of Assembly, it was stated that the Medical Records Unit of the BVIHSA was going to spearhead the initiative.

It was explained that this tumor registry is part of the Unit’s efforts to prioritize and make the retrieval of patient information easier to facilitate the continuum of care and developing policy and procedures to guarantee patient confidentiality. Additionally, it was stated that the Unit intends to develop a chronic non-communicable disease database.

That announcement was welcomed news for President of the BVI Cancer Society, Ms. Gloria Fahie who while speaking at the luncheon held at The Pub restaurant in October, 2013 stressed the need for the cancer registry. She said: “We need a national registry, we need the Government to get involved, we can’t do it alone because research takes a lot of money we don’t have the funds…”