Turkey fails in health literacy

Turkey fails in health literacy

One of the things I observe the most around me is people’s frequent visits to the emergency services of hospitals.

In fact, a recent study has revealed that Turkish people in 2016 went to emergency services 110 million times and took MRIs 11 million times in hospitals.

We are world champions in going to emergency services and having MRIs taken. And that is because we failed in health literacy.

According to a fieldwork research, “The European Health Literacy Survey,” conducted by the Trade Union of Public Employees in Health and Social Services and financed by the EU, 35 million of the 53 million adults in Turkey have insufficient or problematic information about health issues.

Some 24.5 percent of people in the society have insufficient information and 40.1 percent have problematic information in this field. That is 64.6 when we add them all up.

When compared with the same research done in Europe, we see that the rate of those frequenting emergency services in there is 26.6 percent, while it is 52.7 percent in Turkey.

In the last one year, the ratio of those not using any hospital service is 73 percent in Europe to 19 percent in Turkey.

Recently, we spoke about the largest fieldwork done in 2014 with Community Volunteers Foundation (TOG) General Director Jülide Erdoğan and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) deputy general director in charge of patient relations İrte Alptekin.

“The high level of health literacy ensures health system to be used effectively and productively,” Alptekin rightfully said. How many of the 11 million MRIs taken in 2016 or the waste of millions of Turkish Liras of medicines were necessary?

TOG and GSK, both which have collaborated before in a couple of projects, have recently started the “Healthy Youth Movement.”

The goal is to make 70,000 young people aged between 15 and 30 “health literates.”

Within the context of the project, young society volunteers from all around Turkey have been giving “health literacy” trainings across the country since October.

Among those who applied for TOG’s call at universities, 23 volunteers were selected as “healthy future guides.”

After a weeklong training, these young volunteers gave trainings under eight titles, including “Lifelong Health and Healthy Environment,” “Healthy Diet” and “Conscious Drug Use.”

Which of the trainings do you think people asked to attend the most? The “Being Spiritually Good” training. Apparently, our youth between the ages of 15 and 30 need this the most. I wonder if this gives the slightest hint of the psychological state of the country.

Inequality under focus

In the “Wealth Fortune” report published by Credit Suisse last November, it was said that the world’s richest 1 percent had seen their share of the globe’s total wealth increase from 42.5 percent at the height of the 2008 financial crisis to 50.1 percent in 2017.

While the 2008 global financial crisis was highly useful for some, the report stressed that inequality was increasing each year.

Another report, the “World Inequality Report 2018,” made public in Paris on Dec. 13, approaches the issue of inequality between the years 1980 and 2016 from a different perspective and it is more detailed.

Some 100 economists from different countries have come together to examine inequality for the World Wealth and Income Database Project under the coordination of the French economist Thomas Piketty, whose book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” sold 2.5 million copies, and his colleagues Lucas Chancel, Facundo Alvaredo, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

Piketty and his colleagues wrote about the social groups whose income increased in recent years and how wealth is distributed in the world based on statistics.

“Our data shows that inequalities have increased excessively in the last 30 years and its outcomes are horrible,” Piketty said in a statement to the French Le Monde newspaper.

According to the report, the world’s richest 1 percent has seized 27 percent of the growth.

You can reach the report on http://wid.world

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