Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • One month after registration for the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) health card was opened, thousands of persons have signed up.
  • Registration began on February 3 at public health facilities and at the offices of the Ministry of Health and the National Health Fund.
  • There has been a tremendous response to registration for the GOJ health card.

One month after registration for the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) health card was opened, thousands of persons have signed up.

Registration began on February 3 at public health facilities and at the offices of the Ministry of Health and the National Health Fund. Persons will begin using the cards on Monday, March 3.

In an interview with JIS News on the eve of the implementation of the card at public health facilities, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, said there has been a tremendous response to registration for the GOJ health card.

He noted that more than 10,000 persons had registered for the card in the parish of Clarendon alone, up to Friday, February 28. “From all indications, registration is going well. Right across the country there is a demand for it,” the Minister said.

Even as public health facilities begin using the card on March 3, Dr. Ferguson is appealing to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to partner with the Government in getting persons registered.

“I am asking for further support from the youth clubs, the churches, the schools….right across Jamaica, as we continue to do the registration at the health institutions,” he said.

The Minister is urging persons to write their correct addresses when filling out the application form. He pointed out that it will take approximately three weeks for the card to be mailed to subscribers, following registration.

Dr. Ferguson said a full roll out of the card will require 18 months, “but in the present period, we’re very happy for the response so far, and we look forward to persons having their GOJ card that will be of great benefit to them.”

The card is being implemented at a cost of $85 million, with an annual maintenance cost of approximately $22 million.

It will give patrons of public health facilities ease of access to medications on the Vital Essential and Necessary (VEN) drug list at no cost. It will also improve the mechanism to bill private health insurance providers, as it will state whether or not the individual has health insurance.

The Minister spoke with JIS News after giving the keynote address at a Health March and Expo at the Central Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, at 58 Brunswick Avenue, Spanish Town, St. Catherine, on March 2.

Prior to the Minister’s address, hundreds of persons from Seventh-day Adventist Churches in the Spanish Town area participated in a health march from the Sagicor Centre in the heart of the old capital to the Central Jamaica Conference (CJC) offices on Brunswick Avenue.

Eight health teams, comprising doctors and nurses, were on hand to provide free health checks, including HIV/AIDS, blood sugar and blood pressure tests, as well as dental examinations.

Health and Women’s Ministries Director at CJC and organizer of the event, Mrs. Mary Cole, said it was held to raise awareness about healthy lifestyle principles that bring health, happiness and healing.

Meanwhile, the Minister congratulated the Seventh-day Adventist Church for its “great interest in emphasizing healthy lifestyle practices.”

He said the church’s emphasis on promoting healthy lifestyles is in keeping with the Ministry’s thrust to prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes and hypertension.

The Health March and Expo also doubled as the launch of Metro Mission 2014 (MM14) in the Spanish Town, St. Catherine Area, which begins March 30 on Brunswick Avenue, adjacent to the CJC office.  Metro Mission is an initiative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that seeks to impact the cities and towns across Jamaica by actively engaging in comprehensive ministry.

Also in attendance at the Health March and Expo were President of the Senate,   Senator Floyd Morris; Health Ministries Director of the Jamaica Union of Seventh-day Adventists, Dr. Milton Gregory; President of the Central Jamaica Conference, Pastor Levi Johnson and Chief Executive Officer of Andrews Memorial Hospital, Dr. Patrick Rutherford.