Health Minister Dr. Koca addressed a speech on the last day of the Ministerial Meeting for European Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Regional Action Plan organized by WHO Regional Office for Europe.
“It is by no means possible to see the health emergencies as a national problem. Transboundary nature of the health threats and our humanitarian and moral responsibilities turn the health emergencies into a global problem, which requires international cooperation” said Dr. Koca.
Concerning the health system reform successfully implemented in Turkey as of 2002, Health Minister added that “Under leadership of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, we have made great achievements in main health indicators and many other fields including access to health services, coverage, primary healthcare services and family practice. In the new period, we aim to improve infrastructure and clinical quality of the health services. In this regard, we are building large-scale modern city hospitals in Turkey with Public-Private Partnership method.
One of the most important pillars of this reform process was the successful initiatives and investments in the area of health emergency preparedness and response. We made each square meter of this crowded and large country accessible in terms of health services delivery. We ensured that any and all citizens could access to health services.
The number of ambulances increased to 4910 from 619, and the number of emergency stations increased to 2735 from 481. The number of health emergency cases we responded in 2018 was over 5 million, and it takes us 10 minutes to reach the scene of cases in cities.
On the other hand, as you know, we have established the biggest medical search and rescue team consisting of 11 thousand voluntary healthcare professionals. We are pleased to have the capacity to respond to the health emergencies all around the world.
We have established and actively using the “Early Warning and Respond Center” against the unexpected public health threats. Our Early Warning system is in operation against the biological, radiological and other unidentified public health threats. This system enables us to monitor the site constantly, evaluate the incoming information and risks, monitor the diagnosis countrywide and make direct intervention. We provided direct intervention for 2 thousands 185 acute public health cases in 2018 through the Communicable Diseases Early Warning System. We have reached the capacity to detect a probable epidemic on the level of a specific avenue or street.”
Following the meeting, Dr. Koca and WHO Regional Director for Europe Zsuzsanna Jakab made a joint press statement. Concerning the Ministerial Consultation and High-Level Technical Meeting, Dr. Koca stated that they focused on effective implementation of the action plan on health emergency preparedness, including prevention and early detection of international health problems arising from natural disasters, epidemics and humanitarian crisis, and taking swift action against them. Health Minister also talked about the successful health services delivery for the Syrian citizens in Turkey, and the hospitals constructed in various provinces of Syrian such as El-Bab, Mare and Jarabulus.
On the other hand, Jakab talked about the efforts and involvement of WHO in the protection of the Syrian refugees, and thanked to Turkey for its achievements in the preparedness and humanitarian efforts.
On the margin of the program, Dr. Koca held bilateral meetings with Health Minister of Turkmenistan Nurmuhammet Amanneprsov and Health Minister of Uzbekistan Alişer Şadmanov, and signed the action plan on cooperation in the field of health with the Uzbek Minister Şadmanov.