Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja has been lauded globally for her "test, trace, and isolate” method, which helped the state contain the spread of coronavirus. She won the United Nations award on September 24 for "outstanding contribution" towards the non-communicable diseases-related sustainable development goals. Shailaja has also been crowned the winner of the World’s Top 50 Thinkers List 2020 by the UK-based Prospect Magazine.
Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja has said the Central government should have control over healthcare so that everyone - poor or rich - gets equitable treatment.
“The ideology of the present government at the Centre is capitalist. But, functioning even within the capitalist policy, they should try to improve the public healthcare system," Shailaja told BusinessLine.
Kerala has sufficient production of oxygen, but there are issues of supply, she also told the publication.
Shailaja also commented on the Centre's vaccination policy, stating that there was no assurance on Kerala's demands such as availability of doses.
All individuals above the age of 18 will be eligible from May 1. Many states have said that Phase 3 of the vaccination drive will not begin from May 1 due to shortage of doses.
"The vaccine policy of the Centre will result in windfall profits to the manufacturers. The Centre should not see this as a profitable venture. States should be allowed to vaccinate people with their own system. The State cannot bargain with a company to protect the lives of its people," Shailaja said.
Shailaja said spending on the health sector should be increased to at least 10 percent of India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Speaking to BusinessLine, Shailaja spoke about the lessons to be learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic. India currently spends only 1 percent of its GDP on the health sector, she said.
"One, that the country needs proper planning and decentralised implementation mechanisms to improve our health system. And two, there can be no delay in enhancing public investment in healthcare," she added.
Also read: Kerala government to purchase one crore COVID vaccine doses from open market
The minister, also a member of CPI(M)'s Central Committee, said that the Left would have nationalised healthcare and education if it was in power at the Centre.