IDB US$100-M loan to improve health care of NCD patients in Jamaica

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) yesterday approved a policy-based loan of US$100 million to support the strengthening of Jamaica’s health systems to better prevent and manage the care of non-communicable diseases.

An aerial view of Oxford Road in the Kingston and St Andrew Metropolitan area in Jamaica. (Photo: wikicommons)

The proceeds of the loan will finance a programme that aims to improve the health of Jamaica’s population by bolstering comprehensive policies for the reduction of non-communicable (chronic) diseases (NCDs) risk factors. 

In addition, the programme will focus on improving “access to an upgraded and integrated primary and secondary health network in prioritized areas, with an emphasis on chronic disease management”, a release from the IDB stated.

“The idea is to provide more efficient and higher-quality care,” it explained further.

Monitor, improve, prevent

In Jamaica, chronic diseases are among the main causes of ambulatory and hospital care, disability, and mortality.

In Jamaica, chronic diseases are among the main causes of ambulatory and hospital care, disability, and mortality. (Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

To this end, the programme will track progress in reducing the prevalence of diabetes, hypertension and premature mortality associated with NCDs. Also, it will monitor the achievement of the targets related to the prevalence of risk factors such as tobacco use and alcohol consumption.

Ultimately, to assess the effectiveness of the investment and policy components of the programme, the IDB will measure the performance of the chronic care model within the health networks and health facilities so as to ascertain whether or not the programme has contributed to improving the health status of the NCD patients.

A most appropriate time

According to Therese Turner-Jones, IDB Jamaica country representative and general manager for the Caribbean Country Group, approximately five per cent of COVID-19 patients develop severe complications, and those who have chronic conditions are at higher risk of progressing to more severe forms of the disease, require intensive care and mechanical ventilation.

Therese Turner-Jones, general manager, Caribbean Country Department — Inter-American Development Bank (Photo: Caribbean Camera)

“This operation is most relevant at this time as it addresses mitigation and underlying risk factors for patients with non-communicable diseases,” she said.

A benefit to the Jamaican population

With a population of 2.9 million, Jamaica will benefit from the IDB-financed programme as it aims to prevent and manage non-communicable diseases.

According to the IDB, public health policies have tangible positive social effects as the chronic care model will attend almost 50 per cent of the population, mainly those who are overweight, obese, or have diabetes or hypertension.

The US$100-million loan from the IDB is payable over a five-year term and has an interest rate calculation based on LIBOR. Policy-based loans provide the IDB’s borrowing member countries with flexible, liquid funding to support policy reforms and institutional changes in a sector or subsector.