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NHF Expands Availability Of Advanced Blood Sugar Test To More Health Facilities Across The Island

NHF Expands Availability Of Advanced Blood Sugar Test To More Health Facilities Across The Island.

National Health Fund beneficiaries now have greater access to the Haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) blood test, with the expansion of the programme to twenty-three (23) additional health facilities across the island. These facilities include hospitals, health centres and private laboratories.

Forty-two health professionals including doctors, nurses and medical laboratory technicians were trained in the use of the NycoCard Reader 11 instrument, which is used to conduct the test. The training sessions were conducted between October 24 to 26, 2011, by Mr. Imran Ali of JT Rapid Diagnostics, the Caribbean distributor, who has partnered with the NHF to provide the NycoCard ReaderII testing instrument that is being used in the programme.

Under the HbA1c Programme the NHF loans the NycoCard ReaderII testing instrument to the Health Providers, who in turn purchase the Test Kits and all consumables from the local distributor HD Hopwood. The NHF pays a fixed subsidy of $400 for each HbA1c test.

The test is a simple needle stick blood test that shows the average blood glucose level over the last 3 months and indicates if a person’s blood glucose level is within the normal range or exceeds the normal limit. The HbA1c test is considered the gold standard measurement used to monitor the blood glucose levels in diabetics.

According to Mr. Cecil White, NHF Vice-President of Operations at NHF, “The expansion of the HbA1c test programme will make the test more easily accessible, thereby increasing the frequency of the test and enhancing diabetic management of patients.” NHF’s focus on improvement in gylcemic control and thereby the reduction of the risk of diabetic complications is also aimed at reducing the risk of other chronic diseases, which result from poor control of diabetes.

All diabetics enrolled for the NHFcard are allowed four subsidised HbA1c tests annually and non-diabetic beneficiaries are allowed one test per year to screen for diabetes.

Mrs. Rosemarie Lee, Pubic Information Officer at NHF says, “The HbA1c Test Programme is also part of NHF’s wider programme to encourage the population to screen for chronic illnesses. Early diagnosis can affect lifestyle changes to reverse the disease or delay its progress with relevant treatment.” Other screening programmes include weekly Community Health Days in towns and districts across the island and the Schools Wellness Programme, which screens for chronic illnesses in High Schools.

This latest NHF initiative brings to 90 the number of healthcare facilities island wide, that have been equipped with HbA1c Testing equipment since the beginning of the programme, which was first launched in August 2007.

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