KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mar 4, CMC – The Jamaica government says it will soon table in Parliament, a Green Paper on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton, says this initiative should help to reduce the long wait at public hospitals for diagnostic service, surgeries and bed service.
He said that much of the efforts of the existing National Health Fund (NHF) will have to be centred on advocacy, as the health profile of the population continues to show that persons are eating and drinking themselves to ill-health and even death.
“Our mandate has to be advocating for lifestyle changes and public education, but some of that is going to be through policy and regulation, as we have done with the sugary drinks in schools, and the NHF will have to take that challenge on.”
Tufton said that with seven out of every 10 Jamaicans beset by avoidable illnesses, lifestyle changes are the best medicine and “best hope” for health and wellness, productivity improvement, less downtime at workplaces, and for “more economic prosperity”.
Since its establishment in 2003, the NHF, an agency of the Ministry of Health, has made significant contributions to the public healthcare system, with the provision of health cards for drug subsidies and new innovation in pharmacy services.
The agency has also been providing financial support for infrastructural developments and technology initiatives, to make the delivery of healthcare services to Jamaicans more accessible and convenient.