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Public health experts resign due to overload

In one month of 2021 alone, three employees of the Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC) have resigned, SPKC representative Ilze Arāja told newswire LETA February 3.

Since the beginning of 2020, fourteen employees have resigned.

This includes lead experts, like the head of Infectious disease monitoring and immunization department Elīna Dimiņa and public health analyst Ņikita Trojanskis. According to LETA, Trojanskis has gone on unpaid leave to work at the new Vaccination project bureau.

SPKC currently employs 143 experts, as indicated on their website. Salaries of the employees of SPKC range from EUR 940 to EUR 1,600 before tax,  which, combined with long hours, is allegedly one of the reasons epidemiologists leave jobs. Average  monthly salary before tax in Latvia in Q3 of 2020 was EUR 1,147.

SPKC Board representatives have acknowledged that resources are currently insufficient to ensure effective Covid-19 management, such as speedy surveying of Covid-19 patients and  informing contact persons. This, in turn, affects the quality of epidemiological investigation, identification and localization of outbreaks.

Government in January allocated extra funds of EUR 366 300 for the SPKC to attract extra workforce which would support SPKC in epidemiological monitoring.

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