Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Government spent more than $12 million on drugs for lupus patients in the last financial year, and more persons should register and access the support.
Addressing a virtual forum to observe World Lupus Day on Monday (May 10), Dr. Tufton said more than 900 patients benefited.
“It was a commitment kept by the Government to improve the outcomes of persons affected by lupus, by providing specialist care and vital drugs free of cost through the public health system, and now a private system subsidised by the National Health Fund,” the Minister added.
He pointed out that the NHF subsidises more than 120 medications for lupus care, and persons with the disorder can access services at 105 fully operational Drug Serv pharmacies and 49 private/public pharmacies.
Dr. Tufton said the Government has been playing its part to advance services for the patients, by supporting initiatives that improve the awareness and understanding of the disease.
“I salute the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica for the work that it has been doing. I implore all Jamaicans to join together to fight lupus and support persons living with the disease,” the Minister said.
The event was organised by the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica (LFJ), under the theme ‘Unmasking the Many Faces of Lupus’.
Meanwhile, President of the LFJ, Dr. Désirée Tulloch-Reid, said the best option for persons who are living with the ailment is to control it through treatment and consistent monitoring.
“We don’t have a ‘cure’… but treatment has come a long way. Now it is possible for most people to achieve control of their disease with the right treatment,” she told the forum.
Dr. Tulloch-Reid said the “goal” for all those persons affected is to “gain control of the situation, and maintain control”.
The forum heard from many persons who are living with the disease, medical experts and other persons, who shared their experience with the ailment.
Lupus attacks tissues in various parts of the body, leading to tissue damage and illness. While the ailment affects predominantly young women, both genders can be affected by the illness, including children.