Dr. Yasmin Bhurgri passed away on January 24, 2012. It has not only
been a personal loss for those who have known her as a friend or a family member,
it has also been a great loss for the country of Pakistan. Dr. Yasmin, a pathologist
by profession, pioneered the concept of cancer registration in Pakistan. Apart from
working as a pathologist and an instructor in pathology, she also set up the first
population-based cancer registry in Pakistan. It was Dr. Bhurgri’s strong belief that
cancer control and early detection programs can only be developed if population-based
cancer registration is treated as a priority in the region. Her determination led her
to work relentlessly toward establishing a cancer registry for the district of Karachi
South. Dr. Yasmin was the director of the registry from 1995 until her death last month.
So far, this is the only population-based cancer registry functioning in the country.
The registry is recognized by the international scientific community for its high
standards and quality control measures. Let’s hope that Dr. Bhurgri’s work is carried
forward and more registries are established in the region, for the benefit of the
community at large. However, Dr. Yasmin’s absence will always be felt in the times to come.