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What is Diabetes?

Diabetes often referred to as “sugar “ in Jamaica is a disease that impairs the body's ability to use food. The hormone insulin (which is made in the pancreas) is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. In people with diabetes, either the pancreas doesn't make insulin or the body cannot use insulin properly. Without insulin, sugar - the body's main energy source - builds up in the blood. The cause of diabetes is a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles. 

The pancreas, an organ near your stomach, produces insulin. The pancreas contains cells called beta cells. Beta cells have a vital job: They make insulin, a hormone that helps cells take in the sugar they need. Sometimes, the beta cells get wiped out and cannot produce insulin anymore. 

There are two major types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 – Most often appears during childhood or adolescence. People with Type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections to stay alive. 

Type 2 – Most often appears after age 40. However, it is no longer considered an adult only disease. Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and physical inactivity—both of which can be modified to improve health. 

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Persons with diabetes may experience either symptoms of high blood sugar or low blood sugar.
People who have high blood sugar might have SOME of the following symptoms:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Extreme hunger
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Sores that are slow to heal
  • Very dry skin

Persons with Low Blood Sugar might have SOME of the following symptoms:

  • Trembling
  • Dizziness
  • Hunger
  • Sweating
  • Sleepiness
  • Clumsiness
  • Pale Skin
  • Headaches
  • Faint
  • Confusion and irritability


The main goal of the diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels within a target range (not too high, not too low) as much as possible and improve your body’s use of insulin. This means balancing insulin, food and exercise. Food raises blood sugar levels, while insulin and exercise lower them.


NHF Diabetic Programme

Free Glucometer


Important to note, you must use the NHF card at least once to access any diabetic drug, before ordering or selecting a glucometer and insulin pen of your choice.

Step 1.
The beneficiary must decide on the specific item he/she wishes to obtain.
A list of the items available is published below, and the beneficiary may seek advice from a Medical Doctor or Pharmacist on their purpose and use before making a selection.

Step 2.
Call the NHF Customer Care Department 1-888-DIAL-NHF (342-5643) or 906-1106 and provide us with your name, your NHF Card Number, the name/brand of the item you wish to obtain, and your contact number or address.

Step 3.
The NHF will validate your information to ensure that you are a beneficiary enrolled for diabetes.

Step 4.
Once your status has been verified, the NHF will pass on the following information to the appropriate distributor:

  • Your name
  • the name/ brand of the item you wish to obtain
  • your contact telephone number 

Step 5.
The Distributor will contact the Beneficiary within three (3) weeks to determine where and when the delivery shall be made.

NHF card beneficiaries shall only be allowed one of these items every two (2) years as the expected useful life exceeds 12 months. In the event of malfunction or other difficulty, beneficiaries must contact the distributor for assistance.


  • Accu-Check Active Glucometer - Lasco
  • Accu-Check Profroma Glucometer - Lasco
  • Advocate Redi-Code+  (plus) Blood Glucose Monitoring System - Qualcare, Servi-Care
  • Freestyle Optium Glucometer  - Massy Distribution
  • Freestyle Precision Glucometer - Massy Distribution
  • On Call Plus  - HealthCare Marketing (Jamaica) Limited
  • On Call Simple  - HealthCare Marketing (Jamaica) Limited
  • Standard Diagnostics (SD) Code Free Glucometer - Recharged Distributors
  • TRUEresult Blood Glucose Monitoring System - T. Geddes Grant Distributors Limited

Other diabetic supplies provided free of charge include 

  • Humapen - Health Brands Ltd. (Medigrace)

NB.  Beneficiaries shall be entitled to a glucometer every two years.

A1C Test and Participating Laboratories

What is the A1C Test?

The A1C test measures the average  amount of sugar that has been in your blood over the last three months. This is done by taking a small sample of  blood and measuring the amount of glucose in the blood cells. 

The A1C Test providew valuble informations about:

  • Your average blood sugar levels  for the past three months.
  • Your risk for developing  long-term complications from diabetes, such as eye, kidney and nerve damage.

Why should I have an A1C Test?

An A1C test is the best way for your doctor to determine if your blood sugar is under control. The test shows if your blood sugar level is normal or too high.

What is a good A1C testing goal?

The A1C goal for people with diabetes is less than 7 percent. At this level, your treatment plan is probably working and it indicates that your blood sugar is under control.

What happens if your A1C is high?

A high A1C (greater than 7 percent) means that you have a higher risk of developing eye, kidney diseases and nerve damage. If this is so, you may need to consult your physician in order to reduce the glucose level and the risk of complications.

How often do I need an A1C test?

Ask your doctor. You may need to do the test more often if your blood sugar stays too high or if your doctor makes any changes to your treatment plan.



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Contact Us

National Health Fund
The Towers, 6th Floor
25 Dominica Drive, Kingston 5


Tel: (876) 906-1106
Tel: 1-888-DIAL-NHF (342-5643)

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