Shailaja Teacher: Rockstar health minister and coronavirus slayer
Earlier this month, the Indian edition of Vogue paid tribute to K K Shailaja Teacher, Kerala's health minister who made headlines for her work in response to COVID-19. She was featured on their list of Women of 2020.
She was lauded for the efforts made and the swift action taken which had brought down cases to almost zero at a time. After handling the outbreak of Nipah in 2018, Shailaja's action to combat the coronavirus also earned her the title of 'coronavirus slayer.'
Earlier this year, she was honoured by the United Nations for her effective management of the pandemic. To honour Shailaja, Vogue even changed its Twitter display picture to Shailaja featuring on the cover page.
Shailaja entered politics through the Students Federation of India (SFI) and later become a member of CPI (M) Central Committee. She is Minister of Health and Social Justice of Kerala and the current MLA of Kuthuparamba. She is one of the two female ministers of Pinarayi Vijayan Cabinet. She hails from Kannur district of Kerala. She is the State Secretary of All India Democratic Women's Association and Joint Secretary of its Central Committee.
Shailaja has received international attention for her leadership in tackling COVID-19 pandemic in Kerala. Till around mid-March, she gave daily press briefings. She was invited by the United Nations to participate in a panel discussion on United Nations Public Service Day 2020, for her efforts to fight COVID-19.
The Guardian described her as "coronavirus slayer" and "rock star health minister".BBC News featured her among a list of Asian women corona fighters. The British magazine Prospect selected her as the world's 'top thinker' for COVID-19 in 2020, topping the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern.