The HTTC, appointed by Cabinet, serves to function as an advisory board to the Ministry of Health. Its functions include, inter alia, to advise the Minister of Health on policy relating to the collection and use of human tissue for medical purposes in the Islands, and to monitor the donation of tissue by living persons and the removal of tissue from deceased persons. The composition of the HTTC includes an endocrinologist, an attorney-at-law, the Commission of Police or his nominee, a faith-based individual, and a patient advocate/transplant survivor.
So far, the Council has developed a draft framework that creates criteria and guiding principles on matters relating to human tissue transplants, including the local collection and use of human tissue for medical purposes as well as monitoring donations of tissues by living and deceased persons.
The framework will also facilitate the regulation and supervision of any business carried out in respect to human tissues, and all other matters related to ensuring that all transplant centres approved by the Council adhere to the highest standards of quality and safety.
Chairperson Ms Gina Berry and Deputy Chair Dr Diane Hislop-Chestnut agreed that the next steps will include seeking input from regional experts who have already developed successful transplant centres in their jurisdictions. The Council also plans to co-opt local physicians who have expertise and knowledge in the area of tissue transplantation.
“I am pleased to chair this council. Our decisions will be guided by the Law and Regulations and international guidelines already established. Our role is advisory and to ensure that the transplantation system is grounded in best practice,” noted Ms Berry.
Minister of Health, Environment, Culture and Housing, Hon Dwayne Seymour, JP joined the meeting and thanked the members for agreeing to serve even with their busy schedules.
“This Council comprised of volunteers, Gina Berry, Chairperson; Dr. Diane Hislop-Chestnut, Deputy Chairperson; Derek Byrne, Commissioner of Police; Bishop Sykes, and transplant recipient Robert Hamaty, cannot be thanked enough. While they continue their hard work the Ministry is committed to engaging with the public to change cultural attitudes and fears towards the donation of human tissue.”
“Any of us could one day be a recipient of this life-saving measure. I encourage the community to start having the conversations about tissue donations and becoming a donor,” the Minister added.
The Ministry will continue to keep the public informed and advise once the forms for donor registration become available.
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