The Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) told ERR he would have liked to see Martin Kadai, who resigned this week, continue working at the Health Board (Terviseamet). The acting chief of the Health Board will now be Mari-Anne Härma.
Kiik said: "We met with Martin Kadai on Tuesday for an hour and a half and we spoke on a lot of topics. During the conversation he informed me that he had previously written a letter of resignation and was strongly considering it."
The social minister added he asked Kadai to reconsider his decision and he would have liked to see the head of the Emergency Medicine Department continue but Kadai stayed true to his decision.
Kiik expressed hope Kadai will find employment in the Estonian health care sector because he has made significant contributions to it over the last three years.
Kadai's last working day will be July 5.
Although Kadai did not directly state the reason for leaving, it is related to the recent events in the office, which also removed the head of the Health Board Merike Jürilo.
Jürilo announced her resignation on June 18 saying she was disappointed by comments made by social minister Tanel Kiik to daily newspaper Postimees (link in Estonian), referring to a lack of trust between the board and the government, as the reason for her resignation.
Answering a question on whether Kadai has another position lined up and if it could be the Ministry of Social Affairs, Kiik said: "Not to my knowledge."
Mari-Anne Härma appointed acting director general of Health Board
Mari-Anne Härma, head of the infectious disease monitoring and epidemic control department at the Estonian Health Board, is to become the Health Board's acting director general from Thursday.
Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik said: "Mari-Anne Härma has been participating in the work of the Health Board's crisis headquarters since the start of the coronavirus crisis, she has a good overview of the Health Board's objectives and operations and she is well informed about the entire health care system.
"Additionally, Härma also has a strong professional background and the relevant expert knowledge of the health care field. I wish her strength in taking on this role of great responsibility during this critical time when then spread of the coronavirus has decelerated for the summer period, however, work at detecting new infections must continue and preparations need to be carried out for a possible new wave."
Härma said: "Looking at statistics on the spread of the virus, we're currently in a more relaxed period; however, the Health Board is keeping a close eye on both domestic as well as foreign epidemiological developments.
"I deem it important that my crisis-weary colleagues be able to properly rest and recover this summer, which has also been made possible by the present situation. At the same time, we are making preparations together with the ministry and other agencies for the possibility of the coronavirus starting to spread more widely now that many states are relaxing their restrictions."
Härma holds a master's degree in genetic engineering from the University of Tartu and is currently pursuing a doctorate in biomedicine at the University of Helsinki.
Härma, who began work in her current position at the Health board in January 2020, is a member of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Finnish Diabetes Research Foundation, editor for the journal Clinical and Translational Allergy and member of the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes.
The new director general of the Health Board will be appointed by the Government Office's civil service committee for selection of top managers. Harma has been named acting director general of the Health Board until a new director general is appointed to office.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste