Kerala’s Health Minister KK Shailaja was on Tuesday honoured by the United Nations for her efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. She was among a few of the world leaders invited to speak on the occasion of the United Nations Public Service Day.
Kerala, which recorded India’s first three coronavirus cases, has been successful in flattening the curve of new infections. The southern state has reported 3,451 cases, of which 1,809 patients were discharged after receiving treatment. Twenty-two deaths have been recorded so far in Kerala. Maharashtra, the worst-hit Indian state, had also sought 50 specialist doctors and 100 nurses from Kerala last month to tackle the escalating health crisis.
The 63-year-old minister’s strategy of aggressive testing, contact tracing and quarantining patients has received global recognition.
Shailaja joined a panel of 10 other speakers to address a virtual conference. “By drawing strengths on the decentralised public health delivery systems in the state, we activated our entire surveillance network the very next day of WHO’s statement of caution on a respiratory virus of pandemic potential,” she said, according to the New Indian Express.
The moderator of the panel, Odette Ramsingh, who is executive director of Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in South Africa, praised Shailaja for low mortality rates in the state due to early intervention.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, President of the General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of Ethiopia Sahle-Work Zewde, were among other speakers.