Balkan patients turning to Turkey for treatment
SARAJEVO – Agence France-PresseResidents of the Balkans region – especially Bosnia and Herzegovina – needing medical attention are finding treatment in Turkey an attractive option thanks to the quality and professional services offered, according to officials at local healthcare providers.
Ilyas Benveniste, patient services manager at Turkey’s Acıbadem Health Group International, told Anadolu Agency that international health tourism emerged in the late 19th century when people could not obtain treatment and diagnosis services in their own countries and traveled abroad to more advanced healthcare centers in Europe and the U.S.
“Since Balkan countries are smaller in terms of population, health-oriented investments can be inadequate for rare diseases, so we often treat patients with unfamiliar and untreatable diagnoses,” said Benveniste.
Benveniste said patients with cancer, those requiring organ transplants or high-tech treatment, children and others with rare illnesses were often treated abroad.
Benveniste said the Acıbadem Hospitals International Patient Services Directorate operates in more than 50 countries, including Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Noting that every year more and more Balkan patients are seeking medical treatment in Turkey, Benveniste said they were continuing to offer diagnosis and treatment with integrity.
Emina Ihtijarevic, the Sarajevo representative of Turkey’s Medical Park Hospitals Group, told Anadolu Agency that many patients from the Balkans were seeking treatment in Turkey.
“Medical Park has been operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina for a year-and-a-half, and supports both patients and doctors,” Ihtijarevic said.
Medical Park has representatives in Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia, said Ihtijarevic.
Noting that 8 million Balkan patients were being treated each year in Turkey, Ihtijarevic said, “[Bosnian] patients generally choose Turkey for treatment in neurology, Parkinson’s, oncology, cardiology, vascular diseases and orthopedic areas.”
Ihtijarevic also said medical tourism in Turkey had shown great growth and improvement and that Turkey’s health institutions offered world-class treatment and services.
Turkey, Bosnia to further develop trade ties
Turkey will support investors in a bid to deepen economic ties with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Jan. 24 during a meeting with Safet Softic and Sefik Dzaferovic, the speakers of the two chambers of the Bosnian parliament, at Çankaya Palace in Ankara.
Stressing the need for further economic cooperation, Yıldırım said the government would continue to encourage investors to trade more with Bosnia.
He thanked Bosnians and their government for showing solidarity with Turkey during the July 2016 coup and said he hoped Bosnia would continue to stand against the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), said to be behind the foiled attempt.
For their part, Softic and Dzaferovic vowed that Sarajevo would work shoulder-to-shoulder with Ankara and maintain friendly ties.