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Barbudans once again have access to enhanced healthcare services after a fully equipped and rehabilitated Hanna Thomas Hospital was handed over to the Barbuda Council on Friday.

Under the leadership of the government, the project, funded by the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, reconstructed the hurricane-hit hospital and provided equipment to improve patient care within the community.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) implemented the project, utilising a $1 million contribution from India through the fund, using ‘build back better’ principles to ensure greater structural resilience and inclusive access, a UNDP release said.

In September 2017, Hurricane Irma significantly damaged the hospital, removing most of the roof, destroying the structure and significantly reducing the availability of medical services.

UNDP Head of Office in Antigua and Barbuda, Mellissa Johnson, in her address noted, “we extend our gratitude to all stakeholders who played a pivotal role in seeing this project come to fruition”.

Managed by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, the India-UN Fund has been working rapidly to position support for projects that respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Antigua and Barbuda, the India-UN Fund is providing an additional $1 million, on top of the hurricane relief, to strengthen national health capacities and address the negative impacts of Covid-19 on the economy.

Speaking on the importance of the hospital to the Barbudan community, Minister of Health, Molwyn Joseph, said “the Ministry of Health requested the support of PAHO to redesign the Hanna Thomas Hospital, so you are getting a hospital designed by experts”.

Jorge Chediek, Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on South-South cooperation and Director of UNOSSC, said, “Barbuda’s lone hospital is one example of the remarkable demand-driven development work the India-UN Fund is committed to supporting across the Global South. UNOSSC is proud to be a partner in this important work.”

The reconstruction work focused on priority areas recommended in a government-commissioned Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization 2018 assessment.

The post office in Barbuda was also rebuilt and equipped as part of the same initiative.

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