Armored ambulances will serve in clash-hit southeastern Turkish districts
Cihan PhotoThe Health Ministry will deploy armored ambulances in Turkey’s southeastern and eastern provinces, where clashes between security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have intensified, Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu has said.
“Armored vehicles will serve in those regions,” said Müezzionğlu during an interview on broadcaster TGRT late Dec. 23.
“Very serious things are happening there,” he said. “Rockets are hitting hospitals. Health personnel are taking shelter in refuges. There are pregnant women waiting for delivery and patients [at the hospitals]. How can you leave them there and withdraw?” he added.
Police are supporting health services reach some clash zones, the minister said.
“We have no problems in cases of birth, dialysis and emergency,” he said.
“We will continue providing health and other services in even better conditions once the region is cleared of [militants] in a week or ten days,” he added.
The minister also said he asked Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar whether the army had enough support for health services in the region.
“We face a doctor deficiency. [The army] needs doctors as well as us,” he said.
Health workers in the southeastern province of Şırnak phoned Turkish lawmakers on Dec. 17 for help, saying they were trapped inside a hospital.
A doctor, who was trapped in a hospital under continued shelling in Şırnak along with six other colleagues, phoned the lawmakers while parliament was discussing the budget.
“Our lawmakers are receiving phone calls from doctors who are under shelling,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy group head Özgür Özel told parliament during the meeting.
Doctors’ 24-hour shifts at hospitals will become one week-long shifts in the curfew-hit areas of Turkey’s restive southeast, Minister Müezzinoğlu told daily Hürriyet on Dec. 12.
“We will increase the 24-hour shift time of health personnel working at hospitals in curfew areas to a week in order to avoid inconvenience. Health personnel will have to stay in their hospital throughout their one-week shift,” Müezzinoğlu said.