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While the world is battling Coronavirus, K.K.Shailaja Teacher, the Health And Social Justice Minister of Kerala has set an example in taking early, decisive action.
If there is one thing that is keeping the world on its toes now, it is the Coronavirus a.k.a COVID-19. As of writing this piece, the virus has claimed more than 5000 lives and is serious enough for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare it a global pandemic.
Given its seriousness, India has put severe restrictions on travelling and the government is actively trying to spread awareness. The country has reported 70 positive cases so far with one person succumbing to the virus. It has been reported in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab and Ladakh.
Kerala was the state where the first three victims tested positive. Due to stringent measures taken by the state, all three recovered. And even now, despite the 20 or so positive cases, the state is combating the virus bravely. A large amount of credit for the same goes to the Kerala State Health And Social Justice Minister KK Shailaja Teacher.
Kerala was the first state in India to have victims of Coronavirus. The three patients were kept in isolation and treated successfully. A state of emergency has been declared but so far the state has been successful in detecting the virus and spreading awareness.
From spreading awareness to taking proper measures to contain the virus K.K. Shailaja has been leading from the front. In an interview with the Huffington post, she said, “Fighting an epidemic like corona requires scientific temper, humanism and a spirit for inquiry and reform. Superstition, credulity, emotionalism and irrationalism will derail the whole process by dispiriting and discouraging the experts and health activists who try hard to resolve the threat scientifically. In Kerala, we have initiated stringent police action against those who attempted to spread stupidity in the face of virus scare. That was among the main reasons why Kerala made some early advantages in checking the spreading of the virus.”
She also spoke of how, by an off chance, she saw a news article from Wuhan, China that spoke of the emergence of the virus. This was around the time when when China wasn’t alert about the dangers of the outbreak.
As a believer in prevention being better than cure, she said, “I just thought of the possibility of Keralite youngsters who study medicine and engineering in Wuhan getting affected with the disease. And then returning to Kerala, causing its spread here. Immediately, I rang up the Kerala Health secretary and shared my concern.” This was the beginning of formulating a strict plan to tackle the virus and handle the affected people.
Apart from this, the Minister and her team urged people to share their travel history as soon as possible so that the virus could be contained. Through her efforts, she ensured that people understood that hiding their travel history from the government would be a crime under the Public Health Act.
Shailaja Teacher through her immense efforts has shown that if we are aware and alert enough then worst-case scenarios can be prevented. She has made ‘not to lose any life’ the main motive of the state presently. The minister has said that the state is determined to trace the primary and secondary contacts of the ones who have been tested positive, so that it could be prevented from spreading further.
She has also been very quick in approaching the centre for proper facilities, permissions to add more test laboratories and budget allotment to prevent any cases going unnoticed in Kerala.
K.K Shailaja (known as Shailaja Teacher due to her past career in the field) is currently the Health and Social Justice minister of Kerala. She entered politics through the Student’s Federation of India. Holding a leftist ideology, she made her way in politics to become a member of the CPI(M)’s central committee. She is also the state secretary of the All India Democratic Women’s Association and Joint Secretary of its Central Committee. Apart from this, she has also written two books.
This is not the first time Shailaja Teacher has been applauded for her alertness and awareness. In 2018, she received a lot of appreciation for the way that she dealt with the Nipah Virus outbreak.
That outbreak was controlled because the Health Minister and her team worked very effectively and were always alert. It taught her to be always ready and prepared and helped her deal with the current crisis.
“The two Nipah outbreaks have given us a sense of direction. Our officials traced those who returned to Kerala from infected areas and isolated them even if they had minor symptoms. Some others were home quarantined. Trained health workers were deployed to assist them. It was all a team effort. Luckily, Kerala has a team of duty-bound officials and experts who managed the situation with extreme dedication and courage,’’ she said during her interview with the Huffington Post.
Shailaja has once again proved that if our leaders are diligent enough they can set a big example to mitigate even something as big as the coronavirus is proving to be.
Image via Wikimedia
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