Sri Lanka’s former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has written to Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja, appreciating her leadership in “responding proactively and boldly” in fightin the COVID 19 pandemic in the state of Kerala.
In a letter dated May 18, 2020, Mr. Wickremesinghe said: “As the Minister of Health of Kerala, you have demonstrated that effective disease control is possible even though the resources are limited.”
Mr. Wickremesinghe said the ‘Kerala model’ in handling contagious diseases has succeeded, offering the rest of the world “many best practices”, which also includes Kerala’s priority for conducting tests on highly vulnerable groups such as health workers, police and volunteers.
“The extensive testing, including setting up of testing booths and effective identification of potential patients, resulted in having only four deaths out of a 35-million population, so far, the best in the region,” the former PM and Leader of the United National Party observed. “Your leadership and efforts deserve appreciation in a context where most of the countries in the world are still struggling to contain the deadly virus,” he told Ms. Shailaja.
In an interview with the The Hindu, Mr. Wickremesinghe underscored the need for a regional, humanitarian response to COVID-19. Speaking of collaborations in that context, he noted: “We [Sri Lanka], for instance, have a good public health system. So does Kerala. We can work together on that.”
News reports in the international media of Kerala’s effective strategy, and particularly Ms. Shailaja’s leadership, in effectively containing COVID-19 have been widely shared by Sri Lankans in the past few weeks. Many posted The Guardian’s profile of the “rock star Health Minister” on their social media pages.