JIS News

Over seventeen thousand (17,000) persons enrolled in the Jamaica Drug for the Elderly Programme (JADEP) during the last financial year. From January to November this year, thirteen thousand three hundred and twelve (13,312) new persons joined the JADEP programme, which now has a total of two hundred and twenty two thousand six hundred and five (222,605) beneficiaries.
The announcement was made by Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer while speaking at the opening of the Vere Technical High School Community Outreach Day, held on the school grounds in Hayes, Clarendon today.
JADEP provides assistance for persons 60 years and over to purchase selected prescription drugs. Minister Spencer said while the country has made important gains in health which have increased life expectancy, chronic non communicable diseases remain prevalent especially among the elderly population.
The 2009 Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions shows that 15% of persons in the 60-64 age group who reported a chronic illness suffered from diabetes and 37% from hypertension. Fourteen percent had diabetes while 32.5% had hypertension in the 65 and over age cohort.
“This situation requires close monitoring from the Ministry as our elderly population has declining income and is largely dependent on the generosity of family members and kind neighbours. This population experiences longer periods of illness, faces recurrent illness and has the highest percentage of persons seeking medical care,” said Minister Spencer.
The Minister says despite this only 25.4% of the 60-64 and 27.3% 65 and over age cohorts have health insurance. He says it is important that we press ahead with the primary health care renewal programme.
“Our elderly must be able to access quality health care closer to their communities. As I indicated in the parliament two months ago we are continuing with the rehabilitation of our health centres. While we do all that we can to support our elderly population we need to redouble our efforts at health promotion to reduce the number of persons who are presenting with chronic non communicable diseases,” he said.
The Community Outreach Day is part of Vere Technical High School’s 50th anniversary celebrations and involves the official launch of the Numeracy and Literacy project, an Elderly Care project, a Health Fair and a “Love feast” luncheon for elderly persons in the Hayes community. The event is being held under the theme: “Celebrating a Golden Jubilee of Solid Achievements”.