KINGSTON, Jamaica—Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, says the Government is looking to expand access to care for diabetic and hypertensive patients under the Public Private Partnership for Non-Communicable Diseases (PPP4NCDs).

Launched in November 2020, the initiative seeks to maintain essential primary-care services for clients with diabetes and/or hypertension during the COVID-19 pandemic, by enabling them to access routine care through private physicians in their community. The latter was done with the hopes that the resources of the health centres would then be focused more on the growing critical cases and the pandemic response.

It is being executed with the support of the National Health Fund (NHF).

“We are currently conducting the pilot assessment, and once completed, we will bring additional private doctors on board to scale up the programme. We look forward to the advancement of this programme, as we aim to have as many Jamaicans who need to, access the care,” said Cuthbert-Flynn.

She was delivering the keynote address at the virtual launch of Diabetes Awareness Month on Friday. The State Minister for Health said that the Government is committed to ensuring that Jamaicans with diabetes and other non-communicable diseases (NCD) can access care “even as we continue to address the present pandemic”.

She went on to note that the NHF will continue to support persons by providing diabetic medications and supplies.

“I encourage persons with diabetes to enrol in the NHFcCard Programme and the Ministry will be championing the cause of persons living with diabetes. We will also continue our work with the Diabetes Association of Jamaica, the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, along with our other local, regional and international partners.”

The State Minister said that persons with diabetes also have a responsibility to take charge of their health, by adopting healthy lifestyle habits and visiting their doctors regularly. She said they should also learn how to test their blood sugar and know what the measurements mean, as “this knowledge can literally mean the difference between life and death”.

“The post-COVID era will require initiatives promoting lifestyle changes as part of encouraging and facilitating health-seeking behaviour,” she continued. “We encourage stakeholders, from persons living with diabetes to their family and friends and others involved in their care management, to join our healthcare heroes in the effort to ensure the best possible health outcomes for persons with diabetes.”

This content was originally published here.