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Auditor General report: Health Ministry inconsistent in diabetes control promotion and education

Published:Wednesday | November 11, 2015 | 6:20 PM

The Auditor General has found that the Health Ministry is failing to achieve its main aim of using health promotion and education to prevent and control diabetes.

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of non-communicable disease, NCD-related deaths in Jamaica. 

The finding was revealed in an audit report tabled yesterday in the House of Representatives. 


Jovan Johnson reports

The audit was done to ascertain whether the Health Ministry had developed strategies, policies and interventions to prevent and control diabetes as a major NCD. 

It was also to find out whether the ministry had implemented adequate systems to manage and evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies and policies. 

However, in her report, Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis said the attention given to health promotion and education was inconsistent with the ministry's position that both were its main strategies to achieve its health priorities.

She said her audit team did not see any evidence that the ministry had embarked on a robust public awareness programme to support health promotion and education. 

In fact, she said the ministry did not have a NCD communication plan. 

Meanwhile, the auditor general has revealed that there was weak oversight and monitoring of diabetes patients across the four regional health authorities. 

In one instance, Monroe Ellis said because of the poor monitoring, the National Health Fund, which subsidises the cost of glucose tests, terminated the status of 21 of 25 public health facilities as providers for the test due to inactivity. 

The Auditor General says between 2008 and 2015, $152 billion was budgeted for health services spending in regional health authorities but the health ministry was unable to say how much was spent on diseases such as diabetes. 

As a result, she says the ministry cannot determine if it was getting value for money and her office could not ascertain the cost of the diabetes programmes or assess spending.  

Monroe Ellis says the ministry needs to reassess its approach to health promotion and education or risk having its plans to reduce disease factors being hampered.

It's also being recommended that the ministry strengthen its monitoring role to ensure health facilities are implementing and evaluating the prescribed interventions in diabetes cases.