JIS News

Health Minister, John Junor, has called on pharmaceutical companies to look at developing programmes that would target health promotion in Jamaica, as their contribution to the national effort to encourage healthy lifestyles.
Minister Junor, who was speaking at the first National Health Fund (NHF) pharmacy provider awards ceremony on December 2 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel said, “I want to throw out an idea to pharmaceutical companies to look at a programme that sponsors health promoters connected to their pharmacy and or groups of pharmacies, which would service your clientele from the point of view of health promotion, as your contribution to this national effort in getting lifestyle changes.”
The awards ceremony was held to honour the top five pharmacies operating in the public sector, and the top five community pharmacies, as well as the overall winner of the NHF Provider for the period August 2003 to October 2004. The top provider of the year award went to the Savanna-Lar-Mar hospital pharmacy, which filled over 3,000 prescriptions for the period. Minister Junor told the gathering to view the NHF as “a mere platform that will..eventually evolve into a National Health Insurance programme for all Jamaicans.” The Minister lauded the awards ceremony as a celebration of the success of a public/private sector partnership to effectively deliver pharmaceutical care to Jamaicans from all walks of life. He commended the awardees and reflected on the year as one, which “saw the provision of a service that was making a significant difference in the pocket expenses for medical care for Jamaicans living with chronic diseases.”
Chief Executive Officer of the NHF, Rae Barrett in his speech, explained that the number of prescriptions filled under the NHF Individual Benefits Programme had grown tremendously, with 49,000 prescriptions filled between January and October. A total of 56,177 prescriptions have been filled since the inception of the NHF. The ten pharmacies that were awarded contributed to approximately 40 per cent of the total number of prescriptions.
Mr. Barrett is projecting that the NHF would provide subsidies for at least 340,000 prescriptions on behalf of the Jamaica Drug for the Elderly Programme (JADEP) and NHF beneficiaries in 2005. The NHF will also look to support the pharmaceutical sector next year, with a series of educational sessions islandwide, he informed. “Knowledge is power and through these sessions we hope to contribute to the professional development of pharmacists,” Mr. Barrett stated.

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