Staff, anti-vaxxers, inspection ‘records’: head of Tatarstan office of consumer rights protection watchdog reports on 2021

Marina Patyashina’s subordinates suspended the activity of those who violated the anti-COVID-19 regime 2,5 times more often last year. The number of scheduled inspections rose 3,5 times

Staff, anti-vaxxers, inspection ‘records’: head of Tatarstan office of consumer rights protection watchdog reports on 2021
Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

At a panel session of the Tatarstan office of Russia’s consumer rights protection watchdog, it was said about numerous inspections almost in all spheres of the republic’s life and a big number of violations. Of course, COVID-19 was the hottest topic — violations of sanitary norms were detected in 2,313 organisations that were fined a total of 19,3 million rubles. It is noteworthy that there is a staff shortage, chief sanitary doctor of Tatarstan Marina Patyashina openly claimed. Obviously, she means the staff that inspects those whom the watchdog considers as violators of the anti-COVID-19 regime in Tatarstan. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

“We think the epidemiological situation might get complicated again because of the appearance of the omicron variant”

2021 turned out to be the toughest for Tatarstan from a perspective of the spread of coronavirus. Two waves of the disease were registered in Tatarstan during this period. In autumn, the republic faced a record high number of infections — the appearance and spread of a more contagious delta variant was the cause. Marina Patyashina, head of the Tatarstan office of Russia’s consumer rights protection watchdog, said that the share of such patients was more than half of all cases by the end of the year.

“However, in December, we managed to reduce the incidence twice compared to the previous month. Nevertheless, in 2022, we think the epidemiological situation can get worse because of the appearance of the omicron variant.”

Compared to 2021 in general, a fourfold fall in the number of asymptomatic cases of the diseases was seen in Tatarstan. The share of severe cases, in contrast, rose by 22%. The incidence in children almost tripled. The number of infections in families increased by 36%. In this situation, it was important to save the staff, this is why the focus of preventive efforts was designed to isolate those who fell ill and people who contacted them, noted Patyashina. 4,717 decrees on isolation were signed for employers in 2021. 865 decrees on vaccination were signed. Marina Patyashina thinks that the measures that were taken helped to reduce the incidence by 46%.

The share of severe cases, in contrast, rose by 22%. Photo: Maxim Platonov

Inspections go on, but there are few inspectors

“We continued to oversee the compliance with anti-COVID-19 measures in facilities. More than 20,000 inspections were done. And if the share of violators rose insignificantly, serious violations were detected more often. Decisions on the suspension of activity were made 2,5 times more often,” Patyashina claimed.

Violations of sanitary rules were detected in 2,313 sites in the republic (11,4%). 2,103 reports on administrative offences were made, 19,3 million rubles of fines were imposed in 2021. 104 facilities were temporarily closed for 2-90 days.

Meanwhile, the staffing level in the Tatarstan office of the watchdog has decreased to 86,6% in the last two years, which is the lowest figure in the last 10 years.

“Now we have entered a new period of the supervisory activity when the workload on those specialists who carry out scheduled inspections rose nearly 3,5 times. And nowadays the shortage of staff that could do a part of our daily work is also topical today,” Patyashina claimed.

Almir Abashev voiced the number of resources that were used

Impossible to get rid of peak workloads

The coordinated work of the Russian watchdog and health care agencies was a solution of federal and regional authorities, which allowed avoiding a greater rise in the incidence. However, it wasn’t anyway possible to get rid of the peak workload that required using all the medical sector, Almir Abashev, first vice minister of health care of Tatarstan, voiced the numbers of resources that were used. More than 7,000 beds were needed.

“We considered every person with a high temperature as a potential carrier of the COVID-19 infection, this is why almost half of beds were used. About 17,000 health workers were used in hospitals to fight the pandemic,” he claimed.

Now most hospitals returned to the usual mode but continue being on alert in case of a new rise. Also, more than 6,000 physicians, 700 interns and 1,500 medical school students and universities were employed during the peak.

Today they are again on alert because of the threat of the spread of new strains. Vaccination and prevention continue being the main area today.

Vaccination and prevention continue being the main area today. Photo: Maxim Platonov

“Such routine, planned work is necessary for the fight against diseases”

“As for vaccination, 2,334,729 people have been vaccinated, of whom 1,870,548 have received the second dose. A total of 161,913 people have been revaccinated. Vaccination remains a priority for the republic in 2022, said Leyla Fazleyeva, Tatarstan vice premier.

“Today the ‘plan’ is considered negatively. But we all understand that in the fight against diseases such routine, planned work on vaccination is necessary so that people will have immunity to some infection.”

It is well known both in Russian and world experience that precisely vaccination allowed getting rid of a number of dangerous infectious diseases. This is why the Tatarstan vice prime minister promised “responsible people” from some municipalities who lowered the vaccination rate to hold hearings when they would have to explain such a state of affairs.

The quality of preventive work in the republic is also confirmed by the fact that during such a tough period Tatarstan was charged with holding a number of international events. Leyla Fazleyeva put an example of such an event as the First Games of CIS Countries:

“We held the Russian — Sports Power international forum, international quick response team competitions. There were a lot of remarks and petitions from citizens regarding the last event, but it is a circumstance of the moment when the fight against infections goes beyond the interests of specific territories.”

Vaccination remains a priority for the republic in 2022, said Leyla Fazleyeva. Photo: Maxim Platonov

International events create a positive image of the Republic of Tatarstan, thinks Fazleyeva. And such practice will continue in 2022. As for vaccination, Patyashina also expressed her opinion. For instance, there was active opposition to some groups of anti-vaxxers on social media.

“Despite this, we continued informing our citizens about the situation, urging adults to get vaccinated on social media. All measures taken in the republic were reasonable, they allowed to control the epidemiological situation and achieve quick stabilisation of the incidence after the rise,” the chief sanitary doctor of Tatarstan concluded.

COVID-19 pandemic in the limelight of the watchdog, but this isn’t the only problem

Meals were also discussed at the meeting. So 196 educational institutions in 44 municipalities spent a billion rubles to improve kitchens. Nowadays a major kitchen repair programme in educational institutions is created. According to a survey, 1,694 people claimed that they liked everything in school food, 87 doubted the quality and 52 people didn’t like the menu.

Specialists of the watchdog were also interested in the quality of food of all the population of the republic. 4,878 tests of 264 food samples were analysed for different quality indicators within the federal project Stronger Public Health. 21,2% of the samples don’t meet the requirements. Another 40 samples don’t comply with the norms of the content of proteins, fat, hydrocarbons, calories. Microbial transglutaminase, vegetable oils, residuals of antibiotics in meat were found too.

According to a survey, 1,694 people claimed that they liked everything in school food, 87 doubted the quality and 52 people didn’t like the menu. Photo: Maxim Platonov

Intestinal infections and flu regain positions

There was a lower incidence of other infectious diseases in 2020-2021, however, they didn’t go, though they were driven out by the coronavirus infection for some time. Marina Patyashina put an example of 29 people who contracted salmonella after consuming low-quality products in the cafe Eclair.

A record-high flu incidence was registered in 2021. It is 441 cases, Patyashina said. Such a number was registered for the first time in five years:

“During this period, we saw the biggest incidence in the last five years. This is why it is extremely important to protect the population from the flu too. But unfortunately, we received 43% of the requested amount of the vaccine against the flu. And we needed to vaccinate only 26% of the population.”

Natalia Eller
Tatarstan