India: Former Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja rejects major international prize

Ramon Magsaysay Award is given to recognise those who have greatly served Asian peoples


Published: Sun 4 Sep 2022, 3:10 PM

Last updated: Sun 4 Sep 2022, 3:24 PM

Former Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja has rejected the 64th Ramon Magsaysay Award, which she won for her contributions to effectively handling the spread of Covid-19 and Nipah virus in her state.

Shailaja stated that she would not be accepting the Award as it is always given to an individual and not any politician. She would have been the first Keralite woman to receive the Award had she accepted.

"We discussed this together as a party and decided not to accept this. The Kerala government's intervention in the health sector were discussed. Also, they said they considered intervention to prevent Covid and Nipah," she added.

"With all the respect to the Award, I wrote saying that I cannot accept this Award due to some political reasons and also because it is a collective work. As an individual, I am not accepting this Award," she added.

"The decision is because they never give a politician such an Award. I am a Communist Party central member; because of that, we decided not to accept."

"As an individual and party core committee member, I thought not to accept this with all due respect to the Award... it's not right," Shailaja added.


Kerala had previously gained global recognition for its effective handling of the Nipah outbreak and the Covid pandemic under her tenure.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award was established to recognise those who have demonstrated the greatness of spirit in service to Asian peoples, regardless of race, gender, or religion. It is named after Ramon Magsaysay, a former Philippine President who died in 1957.

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