Türkiye marks Medicine Day in shadow of deadly quakes

Türkiye marks Medicine Day in shadow of deadly quakes

Türkiye marks Medicine Day in shadow of deadly quakes

While still recovering from the wounds of the deadly Feb. 6 quakes that claimed thousands of lives and caused massive destruction in unprecedented ways, Türkiye marks March 14 Medicine Day (Doctors’ Day) to commemorate frontline doctors, nurses and various health professionals who lost their lives in the quakes.

In many provinces of the country, several medical faculties and hospitals organized events on the occasion of Medicine Day, while the organizations focused on the people and health workers who lost their lives in the earthquakes.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca shared a message noting that 505 health professionals lost their lives in the twin earthquakes that occurred in the southern provinces.

“This March 14 is not a ‘feast of medicine.’ We are mourning. Around 505 of our health workers in the quake zone lost their lives in the disaster. Our total number of loss of life is over 48,000. Sorry for our loss,” Koca said in a social media post.

“This year’s March 14 is the day to heal wounds with our people,” he added.

Parliament speaker Mustafa Şentop also marked the occasion with a special message. He published the video of a health worker who rushed to save children at the hospital rather than running outside during the Feb. 6 earthquake.

“In the presence of nurse Şeyma [the health worker saving children], who risked her life and saved our children, I congratulate our heroic physicians and other health works, who have the compassion and courage to do their work under all circumstances, on the March 14 Medicine Day,” Şentop expressed.

The history of Türkiye’s Doctors’ Day dates back to 1827 when the Ottoman Sultan Mahmut II opened a health center in the Şehzadebaşı complex with the advice of the head physician of the empire.

The center’s establishment day, March 14, is considered Medicine Day in Türkiye.

But the first celebration was held on March 14, 1919, in Istanbul. A then-medical student, Hikmet Boran, marched with his medical student friends to protest the occupation of Istanbul by foreign forces, starting the country’s first Doctors’ Day celebrations.