Health Minister Dr. Koca at the World Health Assembly

Health Minister Dr. Fahrettin Koca and the accompanying delegation went to Geneva to attend the 72nd Session of the World Health Assembly. 
The highest decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO) convened in Geneva, Switzerland. Around 4 thousand representatives from 194 member states, international organizations and NGOs as well as health ministers of many countries attended the Assembly which will continue until May 28. HE Emine Erdogan will also participate in the Assembly and make a speech on May 21 on the occasion of “High-Level Briefing on Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health”. 
On the first day of the Assembly, Health Minister Dr. Koca addressed the General Assembly and touched upon the followings about the theme of the Assembly “Universal Health Coverage”. 
“Our primary task in such an equation is to bring a balance and equity to the situation by considering the vulnerable and disadvantaged ones in our respective countries. After all, health is everybody’s right and health systems should be able to serve as a facilitator for everyone to attain this right at the same quality, accessibility and affordability.
Based on this understanding, Turkey has been implementing a successful health system reform since 2002. We took our first step towards the Universal Health Coverage by increasing the access to health care services across the country through a well-established primary health care. In order to ensure everybody can access to the health services they need, we simplified the accession procedures and we increased the health spending for our people. Today more than 99% of the population in Turkey is under the umbrella of general health insurance. Furthermore, in order to fight against out-of-payment health expenses, our emergency services have been made free of charge. Expensive treatments such as cancer, organ transplantation and intensive care services are covered by our Government in total.
Health systems performs well under stable and good condition but they show their resilience at the most unexpected times and challenging conditions. This was what happened to my country in 2011. With the influx of Syrian people to Turkey, the numbers of whom are now approximately 4 million, our health system and workforce has been put on a resilience test. Consequently, we have chosen the path of Universal Health Coverage by knowing that denying our guests from their basic rights as a human being will not result in any good outcomes neither for themselves nor for our citizens.
The Syrian crisis was not only a test for health systems but also for global politics and humanity. As long as indifference, unresponsiveness and denial continues for this crisis, no country can be secure in the world, and healthcare is among the primary security risks.
At this point I attach great value to the support of  our only global health leader, WHO. Increase of the initiative and more active participation together with the global forces, will make considerable contributions to the solution efforts.”
Dr. Koca held bilateral meeting with Health Ministers of Iraw, Azerbaijan, Cuba and Iran on the first day of the Assembly, and will meet with Health Ministers of Spain, Czechia, and Indonesia on the second day of the summit.  


Updated: 22/05/2019