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  • Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, (3rd left), along with President of the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica, Dr. Desiree Tulloch-Reid (left), engages with some of the first beneficiaries under the National Heath Fund’s (NHF) $340 million lupus subsidy programme, at the official introduction of the initiative on Friday ((May 10), at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.
  • Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (left), presents Lupus patient, Emily Dixon, with her National Health Fund (NHF) card. Occasion the official introduction of the NHF’s $340 million lupus subsidy programme on Friday (May 10), at the Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston. In the background is Chairman of the NHF’s Medical Review and Research Committee, Duke Holness.
  • Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (left), presents lupus patient, Celia Steele, with her National Health Fund (NHF) card. Occasion the official introduction of the NHF’s $340 million lupus subsidy programme on Friday (May 10), at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston. Looking on in the background is President of the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica, Dr. Desiree Tulloch-Reid.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, is assuring persons with lupus that the Government is committed to providing them with vital support.

“We understand the challenges that you face – you who have the disease and your family members – and we want to strive to respond with as much support as we can,” he noted.

“We want you to know that we are committed and we will continue to work with you to ensure that you are given as much recognition,” he added.

The Minister was addressing the official introduction of the National Heath Fund’s (NHF) $340 million lupus subsidy programme at the Spanish Court Hotel in St. Andrew on May 10.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, in his budget presentation on March 19, announced that lupus would be included among the list of NHF drug subsidies.

With the launch, persons, who suffer from the condition, will now have access to medication at a significantly reduced cost.

Chief Executive Officer of the NHF, Everton Anderson, explained that lupus patients will be able to access the subsidised medication at more than 145 pharmacies across the island.

He is urging persons to take advantage of the benefit in order to “maintain good health and wellness.”

President of the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica, Dr. Desiree Tulloch-Reid, in her remarks, noted that the impact of the subsidy will be significant as some persons spend over $100,000 per month on medication.

She expressed the hope that the move by the Government will ignite discussion about lupus and the impact on sufferers, leading to better understanding about the condition.

Persons with lupus can access the subsidised medication by enrolling for a NHF card.

The yellow application form should be completed with the patient’s information along with the Tax Registration Number (TRN). It should then be taken to the doctor for certification, including their signature and registration number. Once this is done, the form should be submitted to any of the NHF’s card centres. Applications for NHF cards are processed within 15 minutes at any one of these locations.

For individuals already enrolled for another condition, they must complete the Change Form, which must be signed by a doctor.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the organs of the body. Patients with this condition are at risk for a number of complications including arthritis, neurological problems (strokes, seizures) and renal complications.

It is estimated that approximately 6,000 individuals in Jamaica have the condition, with the majority being females.