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MOU paves way for NCD Treatment

For Release Upon Receipt - Monday, October 29, 2018


Professor Ebenezer Owusu, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, The UWI Cave Hill's Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor Eudine Barriteau and Vice Chancellor of The UWI Professor Sir Hilary Beckles with the new MOU

Researchers at Cave Hill campus are on the cusp of having a new avenue to trace the genetics and main drivers of non-communicable diseases, particularly hypertension and diabetes, that have been ravaging the health of people in the Caribbean.

Chair of the Principal’s Task Force, Faculty of Medical Sciences International Outreach and lecturer in clinical pharmacology, Dr Kenneth Connell, who is conducting comparative research between West Africans and Barbadians, said this could potentially change the way NCDs are managed.

Through a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Ghana (UG), the academics plan to explore the link between diabetes and hypertension in the region and the people of Africa, focusing on those from Ghana where many Barbadians share ancestral lineage.

Aside from medical research, the renewed MOU -- signed October 18, 2018, clears the way for educational collaboration between The UWI and UG.

Teams from both universities are in the advanced stages of working out Articulation Agreements, which, when completed, will clear the way for the arrival of the first enrollees from Ghana for the 2019/20 academic year to pursue pre-clinical studies in Cave Hill’s internationally-acclaimed medical programme.

The Articulation Agreement would specify the transfer policies for the medical programme.

“The proposal means that when the Articulation Agreement is signed, Ghanaian students will come here for three years and complete the pre-clinical programme in medicine and return to the University of Ghana and complete the clinical years,” explained Cave Hill Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eudine Barriteau.

The MOU was signed between UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles and Vice-Chancellor of UG, Professor Ebenezer Owusu, one of two recipients of an honorary degree at Cave Hill’s 2018 graduation ceremony.

Crediting Dr Connell for his groundwork, Sir Hilary said this sets the stage for the next phase of medical research.

“The twinning of these medical faculties to continue the medical research is fascinating because the people here have similar DNA to the people in Ghana. What accounts for the differences? We need to find out what it is. It may very well be the key to deal with the issue of hypertension and Type 2 diabetes,” Sir Hilary said.

Vice-Chancellor Owusu said the partnership was a win-win for both institutions, and would complement any area of weakness.

The UG is set on 6,000 acres of land, utilising only half that amount. It has a student cohort of about 40,000.


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