KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 -- The Turkish government’s efforts in combating COVID-19 are turning the tide against the pandemic where the daily growth of new cases recently dropped to its slowest pace since the first case was confirmed in early March, said Turkish Communications Director Fahrettin Altun.
In an article he wrote to the Washington Times newspaper on Tuesday (May 19), Altun dismissed the criticism leveled against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the alleged ‘mishandling’ of the crisis.
He said: “The Turkish government provides free universal health care, and made early investments in its healthcare infrastructure that are paying off now.”
“Our efforts are turning the tide. The daily growth of new cases recently dropped to the slowest pace since the first case was confirmed in early March, and daily hospital discharges are now far exceeding new cases,” he wrote in the article, which was made available to Bernama by the Press Counsellor’s office of the Turkish Embassy in Malaysia.
Commenting further, he said the reforms and investments made by the country have resulted in the accessible healthcare to more people, and that Turkey has invested in its health workforce and built new hospitals, with plans underway – predating COVID-19 – for 10 new hospitals across Turkey’s densest urban centres.
“In fact, we are one of the few countries in our region to offer universal health care after spending significant time reforming the system beginning in 2003.
“As the New England Journal of Medicine noted, we embarked on an “ambitious health system reform to overcome major inequities in health outcomes and to protect all citizens against financial risk”.
“Within 10 years, it had achieved universal health coverage and notable improvements in outcomes and quality,” wrote Altun.
Also, according to the Turkish official, the country ranks among the top five countries in terms of rate of testing for coronavirus, while providing free universal health care, which helps significantly in the treatment of the pandemic.
Altun also touched on Turkey’s health care assistance to many countries to fight coronavirus by sending medical supplies to many countries, including Italy, Spain, Iran, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and North Macedonia, among others.
“We paid special attention to our at-risk elderly citizens. We implemented restrictions on the movement of our citizens aged 65 and older for their own safety by making sure all their needs were met by local authorities,” he said.
Altun said that Turkey’s response to the pandemic and its ability to manage it in the right way was of great importance, as Turkey is a transit point between Europe and Asia, while Istanbul is home to one of the largest airports in the world.
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