Health Minister Fahrettin Koca at the AA Editor Program

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Health Minister Fahrettin Koca participated in the Editor Desk Program of AA (Anatolian Agency), and made important statements about patients to vote in the elections, city hospitals and vaccine production.    

In reply to a question about the measures taken by the Ministry of Health to enable the bed-ridden patients or those receiving healthcare at home to vote in the coming election; Dr. Koca reminded publication of a circular.

Underlining that there will not be any problem about voting of those receiving healthcare at home, Dr. Koca added that “we have planned the system to ensure that bed-ridden patients can vote at home making use of the mobile ballot box, and those who receive healthcare at home but can be mobilized will be transported to their respective address of voting.”

Concerning transport of the patients, Health Minister stated that 12 thousand 179 people were transported last time and similarly there would be 12 thousand patients to be transported, which would be handled with around 7 thousand staff.

Concerning the recent developments in the field of health and city hospitals, Health Minister said the followings.

“We target to make Turkey a health base and a health brand. City hospitals will crown our achievements in the field of health.

Ankara City Hospital, the 9th hospital opened countrywide, is the biggest of Europe and the third biggest in the world. Established on a closed area of 1 million 315 thousand square meter, the hospital has 3.711 bed capacity. It is a health center providing the highest level services in the field of examination, analysis, imaging and other health-related consultations where all problems can be handled without the need to refer patients to any other healthcare facility.

The city hospitals will conclude protocols with universities for cooperation or co-use, and they will provide excellent venues for R&D activities.

Medical doctors of foreign nationals will also work at the city hospitals and the Turkish doctors with good command of foreign language will be preferred. Furthermore, it will be possible to transfer the doctors working at the private sector to the city hospitals based on a part-time employment contract. We have completed the relevant legal arrangements.  

The city hospitals will also host centers of excellence where specific, specialized and qualified researches and procedures are conducted. We also target to establish a system in which these centers of excellence would cooperate with those in the abroad for realization of many scientific and medical studies.

These city hospitals will make considerable contribution to making Turkey a health base in the region.

There will be a different management system in the city hospitals, which includes a coordinator head physician at the top and deputy coordinator head physicians as well as administrative and financial directors, with each tower having its own head physician, and administrative and financial director.

We have started to open communication and interpretation desks at the city hospitals in order to improve health tourism. For instance; we have a VIP floor at Bilkent Hospital for the patients who may come from the Middle East. We will intensify our efforts to increase the share of medical tourism by engaging more staff who can speak foreign languages.

There is a structure named USHAŞ (International Health Services Co.) which will be active in the field of health tourism, a unique example of government involvement in this area.

In the coming months, we will open offices in many countries. We even plan to open a healthcare center in such countries as Libya and Azerbaijan for follow-up of the patients previously treated in Turkey. So we will not only treat the patients but also follow their treatment,

Concerning the progress in the field of localization of vaccines and medical equipment, Dr. Koca said the following.

“External dependency is a bit high in health expenditures. It is 54% for medicines, 84% for medical devices, 82% for supplies and 100% for vaccines.

In the coming period, we will intensify our efforts even more to ensure localization and reduce external dependency.  We target to achieve localization by at least 50% for medicines, supplies and medical devices and around 100% for vaccines.

In line with these targets, diphtheria and tetanus vaccines will be in the market in August. Apart from this, there are ongoing talks with two important centers in Korea, Cuba, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Europe. We target to produce reliable vaccines with the involvement of the government, if necessary without considering the financial burdens it may imply, and start exporting the vaccines in the region.

Concerning the recent anti-vaccination movements, Dr. Koca said the followings. 

“Vaccination rate is not low in Turkey. The early childhood vaccination rate is over 96 percent. So there is not a serious problem in this sense but there is growing concern in the world about anti-vaccination movement. People are generally sensitive about the early childhood vaccines, but they tend to find it sufficient and discontinue with the later childhood vaccines. We need to eliminate such perceptions, and once we start producing our vaccines, I believe people will trust more and anti-vaccination will be reduced to an important extent. I want to remind that everyone should be vaccinated to provide protection against such epidemics as measles and small pox.” 


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Updated: 29/03/2019