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Higher intensive care unit capacity than western world, highest bed number at its hospitals, free healthcare service for all, increasing number of ventilation production and growing support for foreign countries battling with covid-19. Here is Turkey’s notable success in healthcare system.
Turkish law is clear: “Every individual is entitled to social security.” So, health benefits are all of us regardless of our differences. This is more than important, considering the collapsing healthcare systems of some developed countries due to recent pandemic named COVID-19.
Turkey is one of the leading countries in the region regarding its healthcare system. Turkish citizens have definitely witnessed a substantial reform in Turkish social security system over the last 5-6 years. Understanding the whole healthcare system in Turkey, here is the basic idea, which is clearly stated in the article 60 of Turkish constitution: “Every individual is entitled to social security.” So, health benefits are all of us regardless of our differences. This is more than important, considering the collapsing healthcare systems of some developed countries due to recent pandemic named COVID-19.
Better Care Capacity For Coronavirus
Turkey drew all the attention with its surprisingly high Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity. The country has the highest ICU bed capacity per 100,000 people compared to European countries, the US and China, says TRT World. While each country affected by the virus has almost a similar response to the crisis, Turkey is at far better condition.
Turkish Ministry of Health shares the data that in Turkey, there are nearly 46 ICU beds per 100,000 people while the US has 34.7 and Germany has 29.2. State hospitals (including university hospitals) have 58 percent of critical care beds while private hospitals have 42 percent of this capacity. Even better, the ICU bed numbers will continue to increase thanks to the inauguration of “City Hospital Projects” in the last two years. In fact, a new massive hospital complex partially opened in Başakşehir Istanbul in April 2020 to assist in Turkey’s fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.
Turkey’s Global Support Is Expanding
International news show that Turkey is sending aid and medical equipment to nearly 30 nations on five continents to support the war against the Covid-19 pandemic. The equipment contains protective supplies as well as sanitisers to UK, Spain, Italy and Balkan countries. According to the news, the country will also send medical supplies to USA, Israel and Palestine to support the efforts against the new pandemic.
Plus, Turkey produced 100 domestic ventilator machines within a month and the country deliver 5,000 more by the end of May. It is known that ventilators are highly important since they are providing life support to critically ill Covid-19 patients.
What About The Hospitals?
Turkey has various types of hospitals such as state-funded hospitals, private hospitals and university hospitals. Although not at expected level, state hospitals are better compared to the past. University hospitals has the highest standards with extremely skilled personal. And a private hospital is another option, which are generally used by limited number of people. Not many citizens can afford seek treatment at private hospitals but still it is possible to access superior facilities through the limited help of national insurance.
Turkey is welcoming an increased number of people travelling for medical purposes. and the general situation shows that Turkish hospitals are more affordable and in better quality in comparison to western standards.
Free Emergency Care
Yes, emergency care is available and free for all Turkish citizens. But it is not limited only to Turkish citizens of course. It includes those without state health and all the people taken to hospitalized in an emergency. Emergency parts are 24/7 open all year round and it is possible to reach the emergency department with a phone call. Plus, all the ambulances in Turkey, which are used by emergency services, are accredited to European standards.
Turkey’s Well-Established Social System
Although the healthcare system seems complex, it is basically this; All healthcare and related social welfare activities are coordinated by the Ministry of Health. Let’s take a brief journey to the history. It was 1920 when The Ministry of Health (MOH) was initially established in Turkey although current foundations related with MOH were established in the course of time until 1946.
The ministry adopted the Health Transformation Programme (HTP) between 2003 and 2013, which created a huge difference in Turkish healthcare system since it gathered all insured citizens under a single name. Before that, the citizens’ insurance system had multiple categories such as Bag-kur, SSK, Emekli Sandigi and Green Card holders, which made it difficult to organize and manage the whole system.
With the new HTP, Turkey saw a lot of positive changes. The primary healthcare services gained strength. The administrative and financial autonomy of health facilities improved. Home care policy has improved. Remote health services have also gained strength. The number of intensive care units increased and the quality improved drastically. Maternal and infant mortality rates decreased.
Thanks to taxation, contributions from employed citizens, and out-of-pocket payments, these improvements still continue and Turkish healthcare system has its on-going sources.
Once again, Just as the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has recently said: No virus is stronger than Turkey.
Photo: Anadolu Agency

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