News Releases

UWI embarks on nationwide study on the prevalence and economic costs of dementia in T&T

For Release Upon Receipt - May 28, 2014

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago – Researchers from the Faculty of Medical Sciences of The University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine and the HEU Centre for Health Economics have embarked on a nationwide study on the prevalence and economic costs of dementia in Trinidad and Tobago.  

The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) defines dementia is a syndrome that affects memory, thinking, behaviour and ability to perform everyday activities. The organization estimates that the number of people living with dementia worldwide is currently estimated at 35.6 million.  

The Trinidad and Tobago population is in demographic transition. According to the 2011 Trinidad and Tobago Population and Housing Census 117,589 persons are over 60 years. This accounts for 13.4% of the population categorising the population as an aging population.  An age breakdown reveals that 58% of older persons fall within the 60-69 age group. The age group of 80 years and over is also growing, as it now accounts for 13% of the elderly population and 1.76% of the total population. As a result of this, it is likely that there would be an increasing number of individuals at risk for dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease. A 2012 PAHO report indicates that the leading causes of morbidity in the elderly are the chronic, non-communicable diseases (CNCDs). 

This two-part study is currently in the first phase. Households in one hundred and twenty (120) randomly selected electoral districts will be visited to seek out persons who are sixty (60) years of age and over. Field workers are now conducting this exercise and they can be identified by The University of the West Indies (UWI) identification badges.   

The goal of this first phase is to determine those households where there are persons sixty (60) years old and over. This is in preparation for the second phase of the project where persons selected will be revisited and their cognitive function will be assessed and data regarding the socio-economic status will be collected.  

The public’s cooperation is being sought in assisting Field Workers as they conduct Phase I of this important exercise. This study could assist in the long term planning of health care services for the elderly and those affected by dementia.


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website: 

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)