News Releases

UWI Lecturer Leads Pilot Project on Hypertension Treatment

For Release Upon Receipt - June 18, 2014

St. Augustine

UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica: - Hypertension affects as many as one in three adults worldwide says medical expert Dr Kenneth Connell, a lecturer in Clinical Pharmacology at the Cave Hill Campus of The University of the West Indies. Dr Connell, who is leading a pilot project to establish a set of global protocols in hopes of effectively treating hypertension, notes that “hypertension has the potential to cripple the economies of even the wealthiest of states”. 

Funding for the Global Hypertension Treatment Project (GSHTP), with The University of the West Indies as its academic home, is provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and managed by The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC.) Key GSHTP mandates are transferability and applicability to other low to middle income countries. 

GSHTP arose from a meeting of the CDC, PAHO and other regional stakeholders in Miami in 2013.  Statistics show that raised blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, is the main risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and is responsible for over nine million preventable deaths globally each year. GSHTP began work in April this year and is currently in the educational and data gathering stages, using the Edgar Cochrane and Winston Scott Polyclinics in Barbados as its implementation site. 

Dr. Connell leads the project team including UWI trained doctors Dr. Addison St. John and Dr. Jamario Skeete (Clinical Research Fellows).  Additional contributors include Professor Sir Trevor Hassell, Mrs. Maisha Hutton (HCC), Dr. Pragna Patel (CDC) and Dr. Marc Jaffe Consultant from Kaiser Permanente. “We are pleased to be working with our colleagues in Barbados to implement this project and we are hopeful that it will result in a model for hypertension treatment and control that can be replicated in other clinics and adopted throughout the region. Our long-term goal is to engage in dialogue with other countries in the Caribbean to expand this project” said Dr. Patel, NCD Special Projects Lead within CDC’s Center for Global Health, Division of Global Health Protection.

The team employs a focussed and aggressive approach to the standardised management of the disease. It is addressing hypertension management on three fronts: standardized use of a core set of antihypertensive medications, sustained availability of this core set of drugs; and improved elements of care delivery.  Though still in the preliminary stage, GSHTP has been featured in the May 2014 edition of the high impact medical journal The Lancet.   

About the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) 

The Healthy Caribbean Coalition is a civil society alliance which is currently made up of more than 40 Caribbean based health NGOs established to combat chronic diseases and their associated risk factors and conditions. The HCC is a not for profit limited liability company registered in Barbados, governed by rules and regulations determined in a transparent and inclusive way by its members. 


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 over 50,000 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: