IN JAMAICA: Dr Fenton Ferguson yesterday announced persons with sickle cell disease can now benefit from National Health Fund (NHF)....In the first year, the NHF will spend $211 million on sickle cell disease

ANIKA RICHARDS Online/Health co-ordinator  Wednesday, July 01, 2015    
Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson yesterday announced the addition of sickle cell disease to the National Health Fund (NHF) Individual Benefits Programme.
Dr. Fenton Ferguson makes presentation to youth
In the first year, the NHF will spend $211 million on sickle cell disease, and its addition to the programme brings to 16 the number of chronic illnesses covered by the fund.
"This historical moment is significant for persons who live with sickle cell disease, their caregivers and other loved ones as their burden is lessened in accessing medication that will help alleviate myriad acute complications," Dr Ferguson told yesterday morning's function at the New Kingston Conference Centre to announce the new benefit.
"In the health sector we, too, find the moment significant because what we are in fact achieving through this initiative is the provision of greater accessibility to health care for an extended number of persons who have a chronic illness."
Sickle cell is an inherited disorder that affects one in every 150 births locally.
Robert Gordon, whose son Roshawn has the disease and was yesterday presented with his NHF card, said he was grateful he would now be able to get assistance with purchasing his medication.
"It is not easy as a parent; it is very hard," he told the Jamaica Observer. "He got a stroke when he was five and they put him on hydroxyurea after that, so it is quite expensive.
"And he has to do physiotherapy and stuff; this will help a whole lot," Gordon said, adding that on average he spends $12,000 per month for Roshawn's medical needs. more

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