What about health 2023?
As you know, Turkey has set some development indicators for the year 2023 and announced them to the public, claiming that these goals will be met by the time our republic is 100 years old. These include hard-to-achieve goals – such as becoming one of the biggest 10 economies in the world.
We are lagging behind in many of the 2023 goals but there is one in which we are lagging far, far behind. If it were up to me, that would be the first goal that I would write down, before acquiring wealth. It is health.
According to an extensive study covering 188 countries over a decade by The Lancet, Turkey ranks 103rd. Syria is ranked 117th and Iraq 128th. Somalia is 187th and the Central African Republic is in the worst spot. Iceland is the best and is followed by Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Finland, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia and Norway.
It is very interesting that Turkey wants to attract foreign patients to its health system. In fact, there are lots of Arabs, Russians and Europeans mainly in private institutions in Turkey.
However it is an irony that while the public is receiving a service that nets it a position of 103 out of 188, foreigners and citizens who can afford to are receiving health service that is way better.
There is even a council for this:
In 2005, the Turkish Healthcare Travel Council (THTC) was established to strengthen health tourism activities and unite national efforts to bring more patients to Turkey from around the world. With 317 members, consisting of general hospitals, private clinics, thermal and medical spa centers, hotels, travel agencies, spa and wellness centers, facilitators and assistant companies and 144 network offices in 85 different countries, the council has grown into the largest healthcare association in Turkey and the world. In its 10 years of existence, the council has had a significant presence at over 350 healthcare exhibitions, medical conferences, tourism fairs and global summits – frequently organizing and serving as platinum or diamond sponsors at these events.
So how can we make sure that the public receives the same quality of health service as the luckier lot?
I claim that we should use technology more as technology creates an equality of opportunities.
A person who is diagnosed with a difficult health problem can at least get a second opinion via teleconference systems or via mobile phones. We can screen our citizens better if we can utilize the top-level equipment in private institutions. We can build better hospitals, we can educate better doctors and we can do everything better if we use technology better. I know that it is easier said than done, but there is no way around it. I urge the government to get more serious about it if they don’t think they’ll be satisfied seeing Turkey in the worst positions by 2023.