Thu | Apr 27, 2017

UWIDEF contributes $90 million to critical health research

Published:Wednesday | May 27, 2015 | 5:00 AM
Chairman of the University of the West Indies Development and Endowment Fund (UWIDEF), Dennis Lalor (second left), presents a cheque for $30 million to Archibald Campbell (right). This sum will go towards refurbishing a building to house the UWI Solutions for Developing Countries’ (SODECO) clinical operations. Also pictured are Carla Seaga, executive director, UWIDEF, and Prof Terrence Forrester, chief scientist, UWI SODECO.

The University of the West Indies Development and Endowment Fund (UWIDEF) has now contributed a total of $90 million to the UWI Solutions for Developing Countries (UWI SODECO). The funding will go towards the refurbishing of a building on the UWI hospital grounds to house the UWI SODECO's clinical research operations, which seeks long-term solutions for stroke, diabetic, and hypertensive patients, among others.

Last Thursday, $30 million was added to the initial $60 million, which was donated at the start-up phase in 2010, bringing it to the total $90 million.

The UWI SODECO was established to seek solutions to a number of health-care issues which affect countries of the developing world. Led by chief scientist Professor Terrence Forrester, it is part of a global network of research centres with other collaborating locations being the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit UWI, and centres at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, the University of London, the University of Maryland in the United States, Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, Loyola University in Chicago, the University of Cape Town in South Africa and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana.

The primary focus of the research team is to identify the underlying basis of obesity, hypertension and diabetes in the poor population with an intergenerational history of undernutrition.

Providing funding

Chairman of UWIDEF, Dennis Lalor, stated that, "In this, the 25th year of the founding of UWIDEF, this is an important element of what the organisation does. Our primary mandate is to provide funding for major infrastructure projects, scholarships and the provision of research grants for UWI Mona."

He emphasised that "this is a key element of where town meets gown, as it is the funding provided by donors to UWIDEF that has facilitated this important academic research".

Forrester stressed that "UWI SODECO's work will have a significantly positive impact on the population, as the research provides answers to issues that affect large segments across the region, Sub-Saharan Africa, India and China. It is important that collaborations such as these be developed to ensure that we are able to continue our work."

He continued, "UWIDEF's support since inception has been invaluable and has ensured that we are now at this stage and looking to go further."