Leading by Example: The Work of Minister K. K. Shailaja of Kerala State, India in Combating COVID-19

Amb. John O. Kakonge


In recent months, much public attention has been given to the women leaders of developed countries who have done well in containing the coronavirus and ensuring a low rate of infection and death. Such leaders include Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand; Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany; Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway; Katrin Jacobsdottir, Prime Minister of Iceland; Sanna Marin, Prime Minister of Finland; and Tsai Ing-wen, President of Taiwan. In addition to their own expertise, these leaders have been fortunate in being able to rely on the support of well-trained public officials and scientists, adequate financial resources, and well-equipped health facilities. Little has been written, however, about women leaders from developing countries who are trying hard to contain the pandemic. Sadly, in Africa, a continent with 54 states, only Namibia and Togo have women prime ministers, while the only African woman president hails from Ethiopia.

This paper briefly examines the work of K.K. Shailaja, Minister of Health and Social Welfare of the state of Kerala in India, and proposes how lessons from her work could be useful for other parts of the developing world, especially in Africa.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/csm.v4n1p1


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