Medifund will be extended to Singaporeans who require HIV treatment from next month onwards.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said it will pump in another S$8.5 million to the fund to help the needy. From April 2008 to March 2009, MOH had distributed S$73.7 million in Medifund grants to institutions – including some S$59 million that was channelled to needy patients.
Needy Singaporeans have been using Medifund for treatments like nursing home care and kidney transplants, and from next month they can use it to pay for HIV treatment. MOH’s decision follows feedback from voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) and doctors treating HIV patients.
In a statement, Action for AIDS president Roy Chan said the move is “a long time coming”. He added: “Medifund will benefit individuals who are in the lowest income bracket and those who are unemployed.”
In the first ten months of 2009, there were 378 new HIV cases reported among Singapore residents. For the whole of 2008, there were 456 HIV cases.