In India, Kerala has been one of the few states to begin an early crusade against COVID-19 in an attempt to contain the effects of the pandemic. To this end, the state has implemented several tried-and-tested strategies including aggressive testing, contact tracing, and setting up of well-equipped quarantine facilities to curb the impact of the virus.
In overseeing all these initiatives, however, one person who has played a key role is, KK Shailaja, the Health and Social Welfare Minister of Kerala. The 63-year-old political leader has not only been successful in reducing the number of COVID-19 cases in her state but has also taken proactive steps in ensuring the well-being of the people by providing various amenities that many struggled to procure during the lockdown.
And for all this, Shailaja was recently honoured by the United Nations, as she became the only representative from India to speak at a global panel on COVID-19.
“By drawing strengths from the decentralised public health delivery systems in the state, we activated our entire surveillance network the very next day after WHO’s statement of caution on a respiratory virus of pandemic potential,” said Shailaja during the virtual discussion, according to media reports.
Participated in a panel discussion of @UN on the UN Public Service Day. It was an honour to be a part of a panel that included the UN Secretary-general, Director General of @WHO (@DrTedros) & many others. We had a great conversation on the ongoing efforts against #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/h2N4xEZROk
— Shailaja Teacher (@shailajateacher) June 24, 2020
India’s very own ‘Corona slayer’ – the title that has been conferred upon her by the global media – also emphasised on her experience of governing during the 2018 Nipah outbreak and the Kerala floods and how that helped the state better prepare for the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
Apart from Shailaja, the virtual panel, held on June 23, the day UN celebrates its Public Service Day, also featured 10 other speakers. This included the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, President of the General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of Ethiopia Sahle-Work Zewde, and moderator Odette Ramsingh, who is also the executive director of Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University.
(Edited by Javed Gaihlot)