JIS News

To date, the Ministry of Health has been the recipient of the largest grant from the National Health Fund (NHF), to support training of health professionals in 53 areas, Minister of Health, John Junor told the House yesterday (May 11).
Making his contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate, the Minister informed that among the most critical categories to receive training were entry level nurses, midwives, pharmacists, environmental health officers, nutritionists and dieticians, radiation technologists and cytologists.
The grant, he added, also facilitated the re-opening of the Spanish Town Midwifery School, where training of the first group of midwives commenced last month, with 23 direct-entry students.
Mr. Junor said that the NHF made significant grants on a project basis only, to institutions in the public and private sectors, to improve the delivery of health care.
“The NHF Institutional Benefits component started in April 2004 and since then, 67 project requests have been received, 63 from public sector entities and four from the private sector. Forty seven of these projects have been evaluated and 45 have been approved at a value of $1,692 million,” the Minister said.
Other projects approved, the Minister said, included Information Technology (IT) improvements for public sector pharmacies, research development, civil works in public sector facilities, health promotion activities such as healthy lifestyle, immunization, environmental health, vehicle acquisition and equipment purchase.
“The National Health Fund is a marvellous success story of this administration, that is impacting positively on the lives of Jamaicans of all walks of life and I urge my colleagues in this House to encourage constituents with chronic conditions, to enroll for NHF Individual benefits and to support health facilities in the development of appropriate project proposals to the NHF,” he said.
Mr. Junor said there have been suggestions that the elderly have difficulties in registering for benefits. However, for the Jamaica Drugs for the Elderly Programme (JADEP), participants can self-report their illness for registration; there is no need for a doctor’s certificate, only proof of age. He further noted that NHF beneficiaries have a responsibility for managing their health care costs and should not be afraid to shop around for the best prices for their prescription drugs as well.

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