Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Release Date:
Tuesday, 16 January 2024 - 4:28pm

Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley is expected to partner with local cancer advocate Dr. Arliene T. Penn to spread awareness on cervical cancer across the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) region.

In his message on Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, observed in January, Honourable Wheatley said he will partner with Dr. Penn as an ambassador to assist the OECS in executing its strategy to eradicate cervical cancer as a pandemic in the region.

The Health Minister who is also the Chairman of the 36th OECS/PPS Policy Board Meeting and the 9th OECS Council of Ministers: Health, said he is taking a proactive approach to health issues, hence Dr. Penn is expected to travel throughout the region to enlighten, encourage, inspire and support women as the OECS seeks to lower and eradicate cervical cancer in the region.

Honourable Wheatley said, “Educating males is also important to our regional strategy. We know that Dr. Penn is passionate about this subject, and we could not ask for a better ambassador. We thank her in advance for the work she will continue to do to bring awareness and support us in this process, as we will also support her.”

The Health Minister added, “The Acting Chief Medical Officer and the team at the Dr. D. Orlando Smith Hospital will do their part by making the vaccines that prevent the Human Papilloma Virus available for males and females.”

According to the Pan American Health Organisation, Cervical Cancer claims lives and is the leading cause of death in more than 35,000 women in the Americas. The majority, 80 per cent or 28,000, of these cases are in Latin America and the Caribbean.

As such, Honourable Wheatley is urging women to schedule annual checkups for cervical cancer as early detection can drastically reduce the number of deaths associated with the disease.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development remains committed to improving the health and well-being of the people of the Virgin Islands.




Fitsroy Randall

Information Officer I
Ministry of Health and Social Development
Vornicia's House of Commerce, Long Bush
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
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