News Releases

UWI lecture examines Gestational Diabetes risk to healthy pregnancies

For Release Upon Receipt - October 17, 2014

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago – Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is the condition in which women, without previously diagnosed diabetes, exhibit high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. According to The UWI’s Professor Bharat Bassaw, “Some critics question whether GDM even exists but we are convinced that not only is GDM real, but also it carries significant adverse outcomes in pregnancy for both the mothers and their babies. These risks extend in later life.”

Next Tuesday, October 21, Professor Bassaw will take a closer look at GDM with "Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM): A Critical or Controversial Viewpoint", his inaugural lecture as Professor at The UWI St. Augustine. The lecture takes place at Lecture Theatre A2, Teaching and Learning Complex, Circular Road, St. Augustine from 5:30pm.

He will present data from local and international research which demonstrates that there are strong links between high glucose levels and complications during pregnancy, and that early detection and treatment could reduce instances of infant death. The Professor added that there are significant health and societal benefits of a timely diagnosis of GDM, including a possible reduction in the burden of Type 2 diabetes mellitus in both mothers and their offspring and a reduction in the annual healthcare expenditure. Professor Bassaw supports the view that a policy of universal screening for GDM should be adopted, especially as the Caribbean is known to have a high background incidence of diabetes mellitus.

Professor Bassaw is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Clinical Surgical Sciences, Head of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Unit at The UWI’s Faculty of Medical Sciences and consultant at the Mt. Hope Maternity Hospital. He is also the University Examiner for the Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) and Doctor of Medicine (DM) exams. He has developed a modular-based curriculum for the DM in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, which has been accepted by the Board of Graduate Studies. His record of distinguished original work is substantial, including books, textbook chapters and papers in medical journals. The volume of his work and his in-depth understanding of Caribbean women’s health issues makes him a very important academic within the region. The records that he has brought together, and his meticulous recording of the Trinidadian situation is crucial for the development of women’s health in the Caribbean; the region would be considerably poorer were it not for his research and contribution to the understanding of maternal health issues.

These Professorial Inaugural lectures aim to showcase the research of The UWI’s recently appointed or promoted Professors for members of the wider community and are free and open to the public. For further information, please call 662 2002 ext. 83726 or email                                                                                                     


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.)