Cancer registration data system being introduced to better monitor disease- Dr Tufton
KINGSTON, Jamaica— Cancer registration data systems are being bolstered with the introduction of the District Health Information System 2 (DHIS2), an oncology module that aims to further assist in the country’s ability to monitor the effectiveness of health promotion activities, allocation of resources and interventions to improve early detection.
The system will be used across the country’s regional health authorities, said Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton.
Addressing the project launch at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday, Tufton said data will be critical to assist in reducing the mortality rates associated with the disease.
He noted that the April 2023 publication of Jamaica Vitals, which is a data-driven newsletter of the Epidemiology Unit of the ministry, indicates that cancer is shown to be the leading cause of death in the island, accounting for 23.7 per cent of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and 18.9 per cent of all deaths in 2020, and an estimated 7,348 new cancer cases and 4,746 cancer deaths in 2021.
Dr Tufton informed that breast and prostate cancers are among the six leading causes of death in the island.
“Over a decade, 2010 to 2020, breast cancer increased by some 63 per cent and prostate by 25 per cent, and that is moving in the wrong direction, and it justifies what we are trying to do here. A review of paediatric cancer incidents in Kingston and St. Andrew alone in the early 1980s and 2002 reveal some 272 cases, so it affects the cohort right across the population,” he said.
The minister noted that the project will build on the capacities that are currently in place in the country.
“Let us capture the data; let us use the best possible technology; let us use the partnerships that we have available to us; let us share the experiences so that the lessons learnt and the responses can be as effective as possible,” he said.
For her part, Executive Director, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr Joy St John, said the project will improve the availability of national cancer data, which will help guide cancer-prevention strategies and control programmes.
She said the introduction of the platform will improve the data collection and reporting system in the country.
“These installations will be done at many health facilities across Jamaica in a more efficient manner with the elimination of the paper-based method currently being used. Jamaica, you should be excited, as we are at CARPHA, that you will be second to pilot the DHIS2 oncology module,” she said.
A project steering committee has been established to guide the use of DHIS2 to strengthen cancer registration data systems in low-resourced countries – from Rwanda to Jamaica.
The application was developed and used in Rwanda.