More men can now access prostate cancer screening at a reduced cost through a subsidy being provided by the National Health Fund (NHF) under its Individual Benefits Programme.
On February 4, during the observance of World Cancer Day, the NHF launched the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test benefit, which is aimed at encouraging more men to get the life-saving test.
The NHF will provide a $1,600 subsidy to enable persons to have one PSA test per year.
Contracts were also signed with three participating laboratories – Central Medical, Biomedical and Fleet Diagnostic, which will partner with the NHF to carry out the testing.
Speaking at the launch at the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) on Lady Musgrave Road in St Andrew, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton said that too many men discover that they have the disease when it is too late, and the objective is to ensure early screening, diagnosis and treatment.
“The NHF is offering to Jamaicans an easy option for prostate screening. It is giving Jamaican men an opportunity that could be life-changing,” he said.
Dr Tufton pointed out that only 28 per cent of men 40 years and over have ever had a digital rectal examination and of the 5.1 per cent of men 40 years and older, who have been sent by a healthcare provider for PSA screening, only 1.9 per cent report to having done the test.
He stressed the need for persons to “get screened on a regular basis to determine what our vulnerabilities are,” he said, while also encouraging healthy eating, exercise and proper rest.
World Cancer Day 2023 was observed under the theme ‘Close the Care Gap/Uniting our voices and taking action’.
It is a key event on the annual calendar to build understanding and unite the world in the fight against cancer.
The day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year through education, raising awareness and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action.
The NHF is an agency of the Ministry of Health, which was established in 2003 by the National Health Fund Act.
It provides financial support to the national healthcare system to improve its effectiveness and the affordability of healthcare for the Jamaican population.