Some 502 health care workers ‘died of COVID-19’
At least 502 health care workers, including those who worked in filiation teams that monitored patients and susceptible individuals closely to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, have lost their lives during Turkey’s fight against the pandemic, according to data from the Turkish Medical Association (TTB).
Speaking to Demirören News Agency (DHA), the secretary-general of the Ankara Chamber of Dentists, Gamze Burcu Gül, said that the most loss of life among health care workers is among dentists in the countries first affected by the pandemic.
“Considering the experiences of those countries, we took very fast precautions and stopped dental treatments except for emergencies, so we lost relatively little in our professional group,” she noted.
“We had colleagues in the filiation teams who lost their lives due to the virus. Seyfi Gür, the first health care worker we lost due to COVID-19 in Ankara, was a dentist. We lost 42 dentists in Turkey and seven in Ankara due to COVID-19,” Gül added.
Pointing out that the filiation work has been carried out by dentists since March 2020, when the first case was seen, Gül said dentists working in the public sector were assigned to filiation teams outside of their job descriptions.
Stating that not only dentists working in state hospitals but also dentists pursuing major at universities to become specialists were called to the field during the times when the number of cases increased rapidly, Gül noted that 80 percent of dentists working in the public sector were assigned to this contact follow-up application for almost two years.
“Accordingly, with the decreasing number of physicians and increasing workload on hospitals, oral and dental health services were tried to be provided under the high risk of infection,” she said.