Kochi: K K Shailaja, Kerala Health Minister, was one of the
distinguished speakers at the UN Public Service Day, the only one to be invited
from India, in recognition of the state’s efficient handling of the coronavirus
The event held on June 23 honoured public servants working on
frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Whether working in healthcare or delivering essential
services in the areas of sanitation, social welfare, education, postal
delivery, transport, law enforcement, and more, public servants globally have
continued to work in the community as many people shelter at home, risking
their lives to ensure ours can continue,” the World Health Organisation (WHO)
said in a statement.
The other speakers at the virtual programme included António
Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande,
President of the General Assembly, H.E. Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde, President of
Ethiopia, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, World Health
Organization, Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Under Secretary-General for Economic
and Social Affairs, Chin Young, Minister of Interior and Safety, Republic of
Korea, Dr. In-Jae Lee, Deputy Minister of the Interior and Safety, Republic of
Korea, Jim Campbell, Director, Health Workforce Department World Health
Organization, Annette Kennedy, President of International Council of Nurses and
Rosa Pavenelli, General Secretary, Public Services International.
“…we activated our entire surveillance network on the very
next day of the WHO first cautioning against the respiratory virus disease having
a pandemic potential. We formed guidelines and effected Standard Operating
Practices related to screening and diagnosis in line with international
standards by leveraging all our core strengths and the decentralised public health
system in no time,” she said during the event.
While many nations found it hard to contain Covid-19 spread, Kerala earned the attention of the world for tacking Covid-19 cases. The state was the first to set up Covid testing kiosks (WISK) and its health department devised an 18-point guideline like contact tracing for controlling the virus spread. The community kitchens set up during the lockdown was another popular measure. International dailies like The Washington Post termed its proactive initiatives including early detection and social distancing measures like ‘Break The Chain’ campaign as a “model for rest of the country”.