COVID-19 Social Issues

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.

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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.

Featured Post Social Issues

TikTok raises Rs 30 crores through quiz, donates to the PM Cares Fund

TikTok has been seen as a ‘time-wasting’ social media app by many before lockdown. Sections of students used to look down on the app and its users but during lockdown, many of these people have changed their tune. TikTok has become a heavily used app providing people respite from the situation in the country and the world, alongside which TikTok has also contributed tremendously to government campaigns, the fight against coronavirus, and awareness campaigns.

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TikTok has partnered with several government, international, and non governmental organisations such as MyGov, WHO, PIB, and UNICEF India. It is also using its influence among its vast consumer base by using campaigns such as #GharBaithoIndia. This is an inspiring example of how multibillion dollar companies, especially with young customers such as TikTok can find innovative ways to use awareness campaigns.

In April, TikTok donated Rs 100 crore worth of health equipment to the doctors and frontline medical staff of India. This supply included 400,000 hazmat suits and 200,000 masks.TikTok also suggested that if further help would be needed it would be willing to lend a helping hand.

TikTok also came up with another innovative idea to raise awareness in the form of an in-app quiz. The quiz called “Kheloge Aap, Jeetega India” which aims to spread information about corona virus through the game. To garner increased participation, Tiktok said that it would donate to the PM cares fund if users participated in the quiz. This saw increased participation worldwide with around 7 million entries worldwide in 5 days as of 27th April 2020. This led to TikTok donating Rs 30 crores to the PM Cares Fund.

TikTok has set an inspiring example for a lot of other companies. It has shown that during these times of crisis, profits are not everything and how to exercise social responsibility. TikTok has shown ways to innovatively use social media for social outreach and responsibility In times like this, multi billion dollar organizations should step up and Tiktok is an exemplary example. So, the next time one looks at TikTok as a time wasting app, one should look at its contributions during times of crisis.

Aligarh Muslim University Featured Post

AMU receives another testing machine for COVID-19

Aligarh, April 22:

More than 200 patients can be tested for COVID-19 daily at one of the frontline line hospital of the Western Uttar Pardesh, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), with the installation of another RT-PCR testing machine today. The machine costing nearly 15 lakhs, given by the Uttar Pradesh government, will enable, JNMCH to speed up the testing.

AMU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Tariq Mansoor said that the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital of AMU is one of the accredited centres for testing COVID-19. “With the coordinated efforts of district administration including Commissioner, the District Magistrate, the Chief Development Officer, and Chief Medical Officer, JNMCH got another RT-PCR testing machine,” he said. He thanked the state government and said it would go a long way to curb the spread of COVID-19 and added that the AMU and its affiliate institutions are at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19.

Prof Shahid Siddiqui (Principal, JNMCH) noted that the arrival of the new machine would bolster our ability to test as many as 200 samples a day.

More than 3000 free tests of COVID-19 samples have been conducted so far at JNMCH, and the new machine will surely boost our capacity to dispose of more samples of COVID-19, he said.

Aligarh Muslim University Featured Post

AMU alumnus develops COVID-19 testing kit

Aligarh, April 18:

Alumnus of Aligarh Muslim University has developed the first indigenous coronavirus testing kit in response to World Health Organisation (WHO)’s call to all countries to ramp up coronavirus testing.

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) alumnus from the Department of Biochemistry, Mr Nadeem Rahman, Director, NuLife Consultants and Distributors Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi has developed India’s first Antibody based testing kit which takes less than 15 minutes to yield accurate result. Its cost is 500 rupees at present and the labs charge 4500 rupees for it. The new kit will provide the general population in India with adequate access to cost-effective testing.

Mr Rahman was permitted by the government authorities during the nation-wide lockdown to reopen the NuLife Consultants and Distributors Pvt. Ltd lab, where he developed India’s first ‘Anti-Body based Testing Kit’ to do finger-prick tests, which only takes nearly fifteen minutes to yield accurate results.

The testing kits launched in just a span of two weeks have been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and soon the regular production will start, said Mr Rahman.

“We are confident of churning out one lakh kits a day to bring a faster and suitable solution for large-scale screenings,” he added.

Thanking the Government of Uttar Pradesh and ICMR for putting the trust in his team, Mr Rahman pointed out that a set of the testing kit will cost around 500-600 Rupees and the price is likely to further go down.

“The best part of this rapid and lesser time-taking kit is that it is economical to produce unlike the expensive RT-PCR testing kits,” he said.

Mr Rahman added that the anti-body based kit will ease the pressure on the pathology services struggling with COVID-19 detection in the Country.

“We are proud that an AMU alumnus has developed the much needed affordable testing kit when we see the surge in the number of coronavirus cases despite stringent measures are being implemented in the country.  It is a major cause of worry,” said AMU Vice Chancellor, Professor Tariq Mansoor, while praising Mr Rahman for his invaluable contribution to India’s fight to curb COVID-19.    

Prof Qayyum Husain, Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences who taught Mr Rahman when he was pursuing BSc and MSc in Biochemistry at AMU said that the launch of first anti-body based testing kit in India is an extra-ordinary achievement in the public interest.

AMU and its alumni are at the forefront of India’s fight against coronavirus. The Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College of the University has already conducted 2500 free-of-costs tests.