An Overview of Health Services in Turkey
Compared to economic giants such as Europe and the US, the Turkish health sector is more accessible in terms of services and is also at an advanced level regarding health technologies. In recent years, thanks to investments in the health sector, along with improvements in hospitals and treatment processes, the health sector is getting better every day.
Despite the intensive population growth in Turkey, including the pandemic process that we all experienced for 2 years, it continues to provide an outstanding service to its citizens without lagging behind in the health sector.
Every neighborhood in Turkey has at least one health center depending on its population, and these health centers are divided into doctors according to the place of residence of the citizens. In other words, if you have a health problem, you can always make an appointment with the health center where your residence is registered in your neighborhood and ask your doctor for help. Apart from this, there is at least one big state hospital in all districts of Turkey. You can visit these hospitals by making an appointment in advance, or in case of an emergency; you can directly enter from the emergency room. It doesn’t matter where you live to be treated in public hospitals, and all services are provided free of charge to all citizens.
In addition to public hospitals and health centers, private hospitals are also available in Turkey. These hospitals are affiliated with the Ministry of Health, and their pricing policies are entirely their own. In private hospitals, you can also get your treatment by making an appointment in advance or visiting the emergency room in case of an emergency.
The health insurance you will make in advance for the health services of private hospitals will meet many of your needs. Private health insurance works with a system paid for by people or private institutions themselves, but every citizen of the Republic of Turkey is born with insurance to get free treatment in public hospitals by the state.
Cancer treatment is entirely free of charge in Turkey. Most of the drugs that cancer patients should take are also administered free of charge to patients in private hospitals at the initiative of the state. For instance, a patient undergoing chemotherapy can also have the same drug administered for free in a private hospital.
Cancer imaging devices, called PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography) or PET-CT, are used to identify masses detected in the body, for staging cancer, and for determining the response to treatment. Thanks to this device, the tumor spread in the body can be detected much more accurately, and it can be seen whether the treatment is successful in the early period. In many provinces of Turkey, patients can easily access this device. This device is free in public hospitals, as long as the doctor deems it necessary.
Mother-Child Health and Vaccination Practice in Turkey
The Ministry of Health provides information to expectant mothers in Pregnancy Information Classes to ensure that they have information about prenatal, birth, and postpartum periods and give birth consciously, and provide mother and father candidates with knowledge and skills on normal labor pain management and adopting their new roles.
Antenatal Care Program includes the provision of services to pregnant women in line with the antenatal care management guide, the delivery of a healthy baby through a healthy pregnancy and the preservation of their health, the diagnosis of diseases that existed before pregnancy, the early diagnosis and treatment of risky conditions during pregnancy, and their referral when necessary. It is ensured that all pregnant women receive prenatal care at least 4 times.
Additionally, phenylketonuria, congenital hypothyroidism, biotinidase deficiency, and cystic fibrosis diseases that may cause mental retardation and severe sequelae are screened with heel blood taken from every baby born in Turkey. Hearing loss can be treated with early diagnosis by screening for vision defects, some eye diseases, and hip dislocation.
According to UNICEF data, many children are vaccinated in Turkey, while children without vaccination are less than 3%.
Healthcare Practices for the Elderly
The elderly and high-risk age groups in Turkey are growing faster than the age segments to show an increase in health expenditures. This situation has led the Ministry of Health to launch and manage some applications specific to them. The Ministry is taking measures such as implementing preventive measures to reduce risk factors and strengthen primary health care.
The elderly can get many health services such as prescribing medicines and routine checks for free, as well as sending doctors to their homes for patients who cannot leave the house.
Pharmaceutical Supply in Turkey
After being examined in any hospital or family physician in Turkey, the state covers most of the drugs prescribed to patients. If 20% of the drug prices received as a result of outpatient examination are unreported, contributions of up to 10% are received if they are reported. In pensioners, this share is 10% in any case.
Turkey is also a highly developed country in the pharmaceutical sector. The leading pharmaceutical organizations of the country are engaged in the production of all kinds of medicines and ensuring their supply throughout the country. Besides, for some diseases, such as cancer, which was already mentioned, the state covers all drug costs.
The Republic of Turkey does not leave its citizens or guests untreated in any way; health personnel always do their best. It is also possible to treat many diseases in Turkey; there is a health system that you can trust yourself or your family with our advanced technology devices and doctors.
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Health Services in Turkey in the COVID-19 Process
The Republic of Turkey has become one of the countries that have fought COVID-19 in the most disciplined and successful way during the pandemic. Quick and successful actions were taken in every aspect, from meeting the health and medication needs of COVID-positive patients to the supply of intensive care for patients with incubation and the vaccination processes after the vaccine was discovered. Compared to other countries, Turkey didn’t experience any problems in inpatient COVID-19 treatment.
Turkey has successfully integrated the fight against COVID-19 into all processes, starting with transportation. For example, the transportation cards you need to use to get on the transportation vehicles cannot be used without integrating them with a system called HES (Hayat Eve Sığar – Life Fits into Home). In this system, all citizens’ COVID-19 risk status, vaccination status, and quarantine rules can be tracked. Thus, Turkey can successfully fight the risk of transmission of the virus. Within the scope of COVID-19, vaccines are applied free of charge in all public and private hospitals, and tests are completely free in public hospitals.
Patients with suspected COVID-19 or positive test results are followed at home by healthcare professionals, and patients are constantly asked about the symptoms of the disease. When there is a risky situation, health workers refer patients to the hospital. Apart from this, test kits are sent to the homes of the patients who cannot leave their homes to get tested, medicine is supplied for everyone with a positive test and taken to their home, and the disease process is followed by the Ministry of Health until the risk ends.
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Does Turkey Have a Good Healthcare System?
Turkish health system is a mixture of a strong network of public healthcare system and a competitive ecosystem of private healthcare providers. Turkey’s medical service providers have such a quality that millions of medical tourists choose Turkey over countries like the USA and Germany to get quality medical treatments.
Can Foreign Citizens Use Public Hospitals in Turkey?
Foreign visitors to Turkey on a short visit are entitled to free ambulance services and walk-in emergency medical treatments at both private and governmental health care facilities.
Are Medical Services Expensive in Turkey?
Compared to the costs of medical services in countries like the USA, Germany, and the UK, Turkish healthcare providers are very economic options and charge you a fraction of what you’d be charged in other countries for high-quality medical treatment.