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Minister of Health, John Junor has lauded the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund for helping the country’s health sector, rendering well needed financial assistance to health-related projects and programmes.
“In its three years, CHASE has made a significant impact and made a marked difference in the lives and work of individuals and groups,” Minister Junor said, noting that CHASE has assisted the Health Ministry’s constraints in funding by procuring biomedical and diagnostic equipment for a number of health institutions.
Minister Junor was addressing a health expo yesterday (August 30), hosted by the CHASE Fund at the Hilton Hotel in Kingston.
He explained that the CHASE Fund was established in 2002 as “an initiative to achieve efficiency with one agency, co-ordinating and administering funds received from the lottery companies at the time, for good causes”.
These good causes, as determined by the government, cover the areas of culture, health, arts, sports and early childhood education. The funds to support these areas of national life are drawn from proceeds from the operations of Supreme Ventures Limited, Jamaica’s leading lottery enterprise.
The Health Minister said the relevance of organisations such as CHASE and the National Health Fund (NHF), which catered to institutional and individual benefits, were equally essential as they helped to fill the gap in the government’s allocation to varying aspects of the country’s health sector.
“When you reflect on the fact that the Consolidated Fund over the last 10 to 15 years has not been able to supply as much as, I would venture to say, one-fifth of the needs on an annual basis because of constraints in funding, tax, and other commitments that we have, you begin to see the importance of a fund like CHASE and the NHF’s Institutional Benefits Programme,” Mr. Junor explained.
Since its inception, the CHASE Fund has disbursed some $295 million to 80 health-related projects, while in its first year of operation, the NHF assisted more than 50 projects.
For the 2005/06 financial year, the Ministry of Health has reserved $450 million from the NHF to embark on extensive training of personnel working in the Ministry.
He suggested that the CHASE Board consider “concentrating its efforts on primary health care needs”, while the NHF could focus on secondary health care projects.