Release – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Martinique Cancer Registry signed a Memorandum of Agreement to work together to strengthen cancer surveillance and control in the Region. This collaboration is of critical importance as cancer is the second leading cause of death in the Caribbean and has a major impact on health and development.
Speaking at the Signing Ceremony on December 13, 2022, at the CARPHA Headquarters in Port of Spain, Trinidad, CARPHA Executive Director, Dr Joy St. John stated, “The scope of the collaborative work, under the Memorandum of Agreement, will be based on the joint goals of the Caribbean Cancer Registry Hub and the Martinique Cancer Registry to increase the quality, availability and use of cancer registry data in order to inform cancer control planning in the Caribbean Region”. The Caribbean Cancer Registry Hub is a CARPHA work programme that focuses on strengthening cancer surveillance.
Dr St. John pointed out that in 2007 at the landmark summit on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), CARICOM Heads of Government committed to establishing programmes necessary for the surveillance of NCDs, such as cancer. Dr St. John added that Caribbean countries also committed to reducing premature mortality by 25% by 2025, and she declared, “Today is another milestone in our efforts towards advancing this agenda”.
In delivering Remarks, Assistant Secretary General, CARICOM Secretariat, Ms Alison Drayton reiterated the importance of the collaboration between CARPHA and the Martinique Cancer Registry. She said, “Population-based cancer registries are critical to providing data for research and strategic planning. Cancer is still one of the leading causes of preventable death in the Caribbean, hence boosting our ability to accurately collate population-based quality data that is comparable, valid, complete, verified and timely is critical”.
Ambassador Donna Forde, Assistant Secretary General, Foreign and Community Relations, CARICOM Secretariat also acknowledged the importance of the Cancer Registry and of shared health information systems. She noted that this cooperation between Martinique and CARPHA was an indication of how much more we can do together given our shared histories, culture and geography.
Ambassador of France to Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Didier Chabert, expressed his support and commitment to the programme, “I am very confident that this project will not only be a great success, but also a first step for the development of further concrete medical cooperation between Martinique and CARICOM countries”.
Sharing a similar sentiment, Chief Executive Officer of University Hospital of Martinique, Jérôme Le Brière said, “By making a concrete contribution to the fight against the scourge of cancer alongside our Caribbean partners, our institution is participating in the regional integration of Martinique in the Caribbean in its field of expertise”.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Caribbean Cancer Registry Hub, is an initiative of CARPHA which focuses on increasing the quality and population coverage of national cancer registries in the Caribbean through guidance, training, networking and advocacy. National cancer registries play a critical role in cancer surveillance and ultimately, support cancer prevention and control efforts nationally and regionally.
The IARC Caribbean Cancer Registry Hub was developed within the framework of the Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development (GICR) which is led by the IARC IARC and CARPHA, in partnership with the US National Cancer Institute (NCI), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) developed and implemented the regional cancer registry hub for the Caribbean in 2015.