Meet the teacher turned health minister leading Kerala’s fight against Corona


With Corona cases and an ill-planned lockdown raging through India, there is one state that has performed exceedingly well in the fight against Coronavirus. This is the state of Kerala, where aggressive testing, contact tracing, and several economic and socialist measures have helped flatten the curve and cause the least degree of suffering to the poor in the state. The mastermind behind P. Vijayan’s government is their health minister, KK Shailaja.

KK Shailaja, popularly known as Shailaja Teacher is the minister of health and social welfare in Kerala. She gets her popular adage Shailaja teacher due to her long teaching career of 7 years in a high school in Shivapuram.She retired in 2004 to pursue politics full time with Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M).

She is currently a MLA representing Kuthupuramba constituency. As the minister of Health and Social Welfare, she is only one of two women in the P. Vijayan Cabinet. She is a shining example of women being successful in politics and will pave the way for more women to follow and make politics, which has usually been a male dominated field more gender equitable.

She has earned praise from all over the world on how she has handled the Coronavirus outbreak in her state. This is however, the second time Shailaja Teacher has battled a dangerous disease, as she was also responsible for containing the Nipah outbreak in Kerala. Her approach is hands-on and full of hard work, even before the outbreak she was known to sit with her team and ministers for long hours to discuss issues, and with the rise of the Coronavirus pandemic, she has only increased her hours.

Her attitude is clearly visible in her way of thinking, as she once said “no one with the Coronavirus should die because of our lack of care. That was our thinking.” Her work has shown how the Kerala Model can be a model of hope and success in India, with the lowest growth rate of positive cases in all of India and a health minister devoted to her people. One can only hope that the Central Government takes some inspiration from this amazingly strong woman and fight Coronavirus and care for its people in a more holistic fashion.

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