Health ministry ‘fully operational’, one year after fire

One year after an early-morning fire gutted the Ministry of Health’s main office it is “fully operational and our work was only marginally affected in the initial days,” the ministry said in a press release.

More than 200 persons who worked at the main building were dislocated; 27 departments were disrupted and more than 20,000 square feet of space was lost after the fire. However, the ministry said staff was determined to persevere to thwart the “deliberate attempt to distract and disrupt our work.”

Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy said he is grateful to staff who “had an option to grieve and allow our services to lag” but instead chose to move on and accelerate efforts at building a first class health system. He also extended gratitude to partners PAHO/WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNAIDS, US CDC, USAID, the World Bank and IDB for their support.

According to the release the ministry’s entire staff have found new workstations; vehicles that were destroyed have been replaced and construction on a new building has started. Also, it has almost finished restoring documents that were lost and so far, has spent almost $200 million on reconstruction, rehabilitation and on replacing lost equipment. “The short-term recovery plan has been fully implemented and the medium-term recovery development plan which is scheduled to end in December 2010 is fully in place,” the ministry said, adding that the long-term plan beyond 2010 is to consolidate most of the functions in a single main building.

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