Kerala on Thursday received an award from the United Nations for its “outstanding contribution” towards preventing and controlling the spread of non-communicable diseases, PTI reported. The UN Interagency Task Force award was announced by World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The award recognises achievements during 2019 on the multisectoral action in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, mental health and the wider sustainable development goals related to it. This is the first time Kerala has been recognised for the annual award.

Health Minister KK Shailaja congratulated all the health workers in the state and said the award was a recognition of their tireless service. “The state government has arranged facilities from the basic public health centres to hospitals at all levels to treat the lifestyle diseases,” Shailaja said in a statement. “We were able to control the death rate during the Covid-19 period as we were able to focus on the NCDs [non-communicable diseases].”

The Kerala government said the United Nations award was a recognition of the lifestyle disease control mechanism in Kerala, and the treatment and free services received by a large section of the population. “In addition, the state-of-the-art lung disease control program, cancer treatment program and paralysis control program were also considered for the award,” the government added.

In June, Shailaja was 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

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.