KK Shailaja Speaks To BBC On How Kerala Is Containing COVID-19 Cases
Amid the corona threat that has worried the common people and high officials alike, it is Kerala’s stringent measures that are being praised globally. The Minister of Health, Social Justice and Women and Child Development of the state, KK Shailaja was interviewed by the BBC. She talked about the initial strict measures that controlled the death rate by a significant amount in the state. She is said to have kept a track of the fast-spreading virus since its break out in Wuhan and thus rolled out an immediate action plan to tackle the virus beforehand.
Despite the surging death toll across the country and the world over, Kerala has just recorded four deaths. These times have left the best of leaders in a conundrum and the world is just looking into different corners to draw inspiration from. Shailaja has become the famous minister who tackled the coronavirus and is being looked up to by the international leaders as well.
The minister appeared for a five-minute live interview at BBC World News and revealed the proactive strategy followed by the state to combat the highly infectious disease. “Before announcing the lockdown, we started the preparation of the health department. At once, we had a meeting and opened our control room. At that time, no one had returned from Wuhan but we were expecting this,” she said. The minister also talked about the testing measures, “We’ve formed a scientific strategy for testing. We’re tracing the people from the airport itself, and if they are coming by road, then by the checkpost system, and if they are coming by water, we’re tracing the people by the seaport itself.”
She further talked about the health facilities in the state, “We’re improving our hospitals and we have a very good project called Aardram, a mission through which, in the last four years we’re trying very hard to address the problem in the local level. We’re converting our primary healthcentres to family healthcentres, providing sufficient doctors, paramedical staff and nurses there.”
The coronavirus slayer
Shailaja Teacher, as she is affectionately known by her followers, is now being called the coronavirus slayer. The 63-year-old minister is hailed as a rock star who has shielded a state of 35 million from the major threat to health. The establishment of a rapid response team and control rooms in the 14 districts of Kerala were the first steps taken by her ministry. They had already adopted WHO’s protocol of test, trace, isolate and support by the time the first patient was discovered. The state had an enterprising contact tracing team that tracked the contact web when tourists from Venice did not come out with their travel history and later tested positive for novel coronavirus.
The state curbed international flights two days before the country went into lockdown. They accommodated and fed about 1,50,000 migrant workers who are now being sent home via charter trains. Kerala is preparing and planning its further actions and has thought of possible measures if the state suffers from the worst-case scenario. To meet the dearth of manpower that may arise, the state is training school teachers in contact tracing as the minister feels that tracing and testing are the most crucial steps.
KK Shailaja is widely known for her work ethic and determination towards the state. She never steps back from monitoring essential arrangements in the state. Before being in the news for combatting corona, she was lauded for fighting against the Nipah virus that broke out in 2018. She had gone to the ground level to talk to the villagers and make them understand the necessity of measures. She has tackled whatever came her way without showing a frown and is thus known for her calm personality.
Saavriti is an intern at SheThePeople.TV.