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Member of Parliament for South Eastern St. Elizabeth, Lenworth Blake has recommended that the scope of the National Health Fund (NHF) be widened to include more childhood diseases as well as dental and optical benefits.
Mr. Blake said his call for children to be less restricted in their benefits was made in light of the fact that they were one of the groups most at risk health wise, with the other being the elderly.The Member of Parliament was making his contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate at Gordon House, yesterday (July 5).
He pointed out that so far under the NHF and the Jamaica Drug for the Elderly (JADEP) programmes, of the more than 800 persons registered in his constituency, the vast majority were receiving benefits.
However, Mr. Blake made an appeal for the rescinding of the requirement by the Drug for the Elderly Programme for applicants to have a Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN). He explained that the TRN could only be obtained with the presentation of a birth certificate or some other proof of age and many elderly persons could neither produce the required proof of age nor afford the extra expenses involved for transportation to acquire the TRN.
With regard to the acceptance of the NHF and JADEP cards, he said some programme beneficiaries were experiencing setbacks, as not all pharmacies accepted the cards. Mr. Blake recommended that the Ministry of Health engage in dialogue with pharmacies with a view to getting every pharmacy to accept the cards.