Now approaching the one-year anniversary of hisdiagnosis, Prostate Cancer patient, Devon Cummings (whose name has been changed to protect his privacy) is crediting his improving health to the National Health Fund (NHF).
Cummings said he was not able to afford his medication for treatment before becoming an NHFCard beneficiary, due to the high costs attached.
“To tell you the truth, when the Doctor told me about the medication I need, I went to check it out and realized that it could cost up to $60,000 for the injection alone. I told the Doctor I can’t afford it,” said Cummings.
The patient of the University Hospital of the West Indies was diagnosed in December 2021, but was forced to endure his symptoms for an additional three months before acquiring the NHFCard, which allowed him to access the necessary medication.
“I couldn’t buy any medication! I just could not afford them at all so the Doctor recommended that I get the [NHF]Card. Right now, I pay about $7,500 every three months. I appreciate the card very very much. I love it!” he emphasised.
Cummings shared that he was urinating frequently, had delayed excretion, trouble starting urination and experienced painful flow of urine. Although he had a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test done he was not diagnosed. One night, however, he was unable to pass urine, rushed to the Princess Margaret Hospital to seek treatment, and was subsequently diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.
Having been consistently on medication his symptoms have lessened.
The St Thomas resident is one of just over 21,000 beneficiaries enrolled in the NHFCard Programme for Prostate Cancer.
Prostate cancer is one of the 17 illnesses covered by the NHFCard Programme, and is one of seven conditions that has a subsidy rate for medication of up to 70 per cent. In the last financial year, prostate cancer accounted for the highest average subsidy per claim of $24,282.89.
“Health care is expensive. We are aware of the high costs associated with treating chronic illnesses and that is why we work as hard as we do as an organisation to continue improving the services we offer. With so many persons in Jamaica diagnosed with chronic illnesses the demand and need are great. We are, therefore, committed to the role we play in improving lives,” said Everton Anderson, chief executive officer of the NHF.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Jamaica and the NHF has encouraged persons so diagnosed to sign up for the NHFCard for greater access to life-preserving medication.
The application form is found at www.nhf.org.jm, or patients may speak to their doctor about becoming an NHF beneficiary.