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Doctors told to report health stats

Dr. Joy St. John.

Health statistics, once reported to the Barbados National Registry by physicians, could influence the development of health policies and prevention programmes.

This was underlined by Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John, as she opened and chaired a seminar for clinicians hosted by BNR-Cancer on male genitourinary cancer at the Accra Beach Resort and Spa yesterday. She stressed that all physicians should be aware of the importance of cancer statistics and the role they played in planning resources for the health care system.

“Cancer data collected from physicians, laboratories and death certificates are of great importance and can significantly impact the development of health policies and prevention programmes. So, I urge all public and private medical staff to be supportive of the registry. Only through your commitment to reporting and providing timely information will the accuracy and validity of the registry be truly realised,” St. John emphasised.

Under the laws of Barbados, (the Health Services Communicable and Notifiable Disease Regulations 1969), a physician must notify the Ministry of Health of any cancer diagnosis. The CMO noted that the Ministry was currently seeking to amend the regulations to reflect new and emerging communicable diseases and non-communicable diseases to allow for the compilation of more extensive statistics.

The seminar was the second in the BNR’s Continuing Education Seminar Series and targeted both private and public physicians, as well as medical students.

The objectives were to educate physicians and medical students about the incidence and prevalence of genitourinary cancers as well as how to diagnose, stage and manage such cancers; to sensitise participants on the importance, role and operations of the cancer registry in Barbados; and to encourage continued support of the local cancer registry.

The BNR has hosted a series of training seminars for medical professionals and for which continuing medical education points are obtained. Training has focussed on the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) and the need for accurate documentation, followed by training in Death Certificate Documentation and completion, and Stroke Diagnosis and Management, in early 2012.

Although there are other registries in the English-speaking Caribbean, including Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, only Barbados has a comprehensive registry for CNCDs. The BNR is the national disease surveillance system executed by the Chronic Disease Research Centre of the University of the West Indies on behalf of the Ministry of Health. The registry carries out three population surveys – heart attack, stroke and cancer.

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