JIS News

The National Health Fund (NHF) Individual Benefits Programme grew by just over 33 per cent for the 2006/07 financial year and by the end of May 2007, enrolment had exceeded 300,000 persons.
This was announced by Minister of Health, Horace Dalley, during his contribution to the 2007/08 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday (June 19).
He informed that “83 per cent of NHF beneficiaries registered are 45 years of age and over, while 80 per cent of the Jamaica Drug for the Elderly Programme beneficiaries are between 60 and 79 years, reflecting the increased demand for medicines for the chronic conditions covered by the programme. The overall number of claims satisfied during the year increased by 115 per cent to 1,592,863. In May of this year, the NHF reached the milestone of paying out $1 billion in claims for prescription drugs and diabetic supplies.
Diabetes and hypertension continue to account for the majority of the claims received at 70 per cent, reflecting the significance of these illnesses to the health burden of the Jamaican population. “Diabetes can be described as a serious chronic disease. Over 300,000 persons in Jamaica have diabetes, however only 50 per cent are aware of their condition,” Mr. Dalley pointed out. Diabetes causes blindness, heart disease and stroke and is a costly disease to manage when complications occur.
As a result within the next two months, the NHF will be offering a subsidy for the H-B-A- One-C test for diabetics enrolled with the NHF.
“The H-B-A- One-C test is one of the best measurements that can be used by a health care provider to monitor glucose levels in diabetics. This is a simple lab test that shows the average blood glucose level over the last three months. Diabetics will be offered subsidy for two tests each year,” Mr. Dalley informed.

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