The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment now has five ventilators to better equip the specially designed infectious disease and isolation centre, which was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is one part of an India-UN Partnership Fund US$1 million project to strengthen national health capacities and reduce the negative socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis in Antigua and Barbuda. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is implementing the project in close consultation and collaboration with relevant national authorities, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Immigration, and the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Honourable E.P. Chet Greene stated, “No amount of thanks is too much to give to India for this very timely donation, the COVID-19 virus continues to plague the world, we ourselves have seen a spike in numbers yesterday.”
Minister of Health, Wellness & the Environment Honourable Molwyn Joseph also expressed “profound appreciation for UNDP and the Indian government collaborating to make this contribution to Antigua and Barbuda at this critical moment.”
UNDP Resident Representative Magdy Martinez-Soliman added “We are very humbled to be of service. The guidance received from Foreign Minister Greene, Health Minister Joseph and Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the UN, Mr. Aubrey Webson, was stellar and made it happen, thanks to the generosity of the Indian Government and our colleagues in UNOSSC – the Office that manages the India Fund for us. Now the country’s health system is stronger and better equipped.”
The India-UN fund project will also provide support to assess the socio-economic and human development impacts of the crisis, in particular on women, using short-term measures designed to mitigate the immediate impact of the crisis and improve the ability of women to recover in the medium to long term. This support is deemed crucial as the global pandemic threatens to profoundly deepen inequalities and undo progress on sustainable development and humanitarian response, more broadly. Unemployment is forecast to increase with the fall-off in tourism and critically, women are overrepresented in tourism sector employment, accounting for 60% of the labour force in that sector.
Support will also be provided to e-commerce services developed for MSMEs and other businesses in agriculture, tourism and the “gig” economy and integrated with relevant secondary services.
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