JIS News

Enrollment in the National Health Fund (NHF) for 2008/09 increased by 16 per cent over the previous year, with the number of beneficiaries currently at 404,615, Health Minister, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, has announced.
Making his presentation in the 2009/10 Sectoral Debate in the House, on July 15, Mr. Spencer said the number of new beneficiaries securing NHF cards was 35,947, while there were 18,364 new Jamaica Drugs for the Elderly Programme (JADEP) cardholders.
He told the House that NHF beneficiaries are currently enrolled for 546,285 cases of illness, representing an average of 2.62 cases per individual. Hypertension, the Minister pointed out, remains the condition recording the highest figure, with just over 26 per cent of the cases. “The other leading conditions were: arthritis, 16 per cent; diabetes, 14 per cent; and high cholesterol, 12 per cent,” he informed.
Meanwhile, Mr. Spencer said 13 new Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) were added to the NHF drug list, bringing the total number to 201. He pointed out that the total number of items on the list had increased to 1,288. He further said the total number of NHF and JADEP claims approved during the year increased by 18 per cent to reach over 2.6 million prescriptions.
“NHF card beneficiaries received, on average, a 56 per cent subsidy from more than 1.88 million prescriptions filled. The total value of their prescriptions was $3.03 billion, and the NHF paid $1.6 billion in subsidies. For the JADEP card, 713,990 prescriptions were provided to elderly beneficiaries. This reflects an increase of 16 per cent over the previous year,” the Minister outlined.
Regarding pharmaceutical providers, Mr. Spencer advised that 22 new pharmacies signed contracts with the NHF to service beneficiaries, bringing the total number of providers to 422. The number of JADEP providers, he added, also increased from 318 to 344 last year.
Meanwhile, the NHF continues to provide institutional support to the health sector. Mr. Spencer disclosed that during the 2008/09 fiscal year, the Fund approved $842 million in funding for projects, including 15 non-governmental organisation (NGO) projects, totalling approximately $134.3 million.
“Funds in excess of $670.4 million were disbursed for projects during the last financial year. The projects include: construction and infrastructure, health promotion, research, and the purchase of equipment,” Mr. Spencer told the House.

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