Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Release Date:
Wednesday, 2 May 2018 - 3:46pm

The Ministry of Health and Social Development is urging the community to beware of hypertension, a disease also called the “silent killer,” as they launch a hypertension awareness campaign.

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated.  Blood pressure is determined by the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. Factors such as the narrowing of the arteries cause an increase in the amount of pressure that the heart needs to exert to pump the blood throughout the body. 

Chief of Drugs and Pharmaceutical Services, Mrs. Gracia Wheatley-Smith said, “The reason for the campaign is to join with organisations like the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control as efforts continue to try to bring the disease under control in the region.”

“The Global Standardized Hypertension Treatment Project is a programme that looks at ways to control hypertension in the region as medical professionals and also in the homes of individuals,” Mrs. Wheatley-Smith said.  

“One of the aspects of the programme is looking at how we can accurately take blood pressure.  We have developed brochures and designed a poster that will be distributed to all health facilities locally to aid us on this quest,” she added.

The reason why hypertension is known as the silent killer is because someone could have high blood pressure for years and not know it. Uncontrolled blood pressure increases risks of serious health problems including renal failure, heart attack and stroke.

As part of the campaign, flyers, posters, brochures, audio and video commercials will be disseminated.  In addition, a five part series on taking accurate blood pressure readings and the 411 on hypertension will be aired as part of a GIS radio report on ZBVI.

“We want to encourage persons to take care of their health, pay attention to the information disseminated and be aware of this “silent killer”,” Mrs. Wheatley-Smith said.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development is committed to improving the health of the people of the Virgin Islands.


Natasha Lettsome-Humphrey

Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Telephone: 468-2286