Univer­sal health­care in Turkey ad­vances at record pace

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

TURKEY, along with China, Rwanda, Cam­bo­dia, Equa­to­rial Guinea and Laos, recorded the big­gest im­prove­ments in univer­sal health care be­tween 2000 and 2016, which trans­lated into bet­ter vac­cine cov­er­age, as well as fewer child deaths and malaria in­fec­tions, ac­cord­ing to a Bill & Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion-spon­sored study pub­lished by the med­i­cal jour­nal Lancet yes­ter­day.

The study re­viewed the progress made by 188 coun­tries to­ward achiev­ing the U.N.’s Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs), not­ing not one coun­try was on track to achieve the goal of elim­i­nat­ing new tu­ber­cu­lo­sis in­fec­tions by 2030. At the same time, less than 5 per­cent of coun­tries were likely to reach the U.N. goal of re­duc­ing sui­cides, road deaths and child obe­sity by that date, and only 7 per­cent would likely elim­i­nate new HIV in­fec­tions, ac­cord­ing to an As­so­ciated Press re­port on the mat­ter.

Over­all, only a fifth of 37 health-re­lated tar­gets set un­der the U.N.’s Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015, are likely to be met, said the re­view in the jour­nal.

“A num­ber of tar­gets re­mained out of reach for most coun­tries,” the au­thors wrote.

In the re­view, more than 2,500 re­searchers from around the world scored the health progress of 188 coun­tries and pro­jected their tra­jec­tory to 2030. High-in­come coun­tries were fore­cast to meet 38 per­cent of the U.N.’s health-re­lated tar­gets, com­pared to 3 per­cent for low-in­come states.

They also were not deal­ing with the same prob­lems. Poor coun­tries fared poorly on ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity, child stunt­ing, malaria and en­vi­ron­men­tal risks that af­fected rich na­tions less. But when it comes to lifestyle prob­lems, many high-in­come coun­tries, in­clud­ing the United States, fared poorly on mea­sures for sui­cide, al­co­hol abuse and homi­cide. The United States, also joined Le­sotho and the Cen­tral African Repub­lic, among coun­tries show­ing “min­i­mal im­prove­ment” in univer­sal health care, said the team.

Sin­ga­pore, Ice­land and Swe­den were the best-per­form­ing coun­tries in terms of healthre­lated Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals, ac- cord­ing to the re­view.

Turkey came 58th with high marks on skilled birth at­ten­dance, com­bat­ing malaria, pre­ven­tion of sui­cide mor­tal­ity and low preva­lence of house­hold air pol­lu­tion. How­ever, its low scores on dis­as­ter mor­tal­ity, over­weight chil­dren, ado­les­cent birth rate, con­flict mor­tal­ity and preva­lence of smok­ing pre­vented it from achiev­ing a higher level. Ac­cord­ing to the study: “Af­ter a change in gov­ern­ment in 2002, Turkey in­tro­duced its Health Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gram in 2003 with the ex­plicit aim of im­prov­ing pub­lic health, pro­vid­ing health in­surance for all, and ex­pand­ing ac­cess to care. The phased im­ple­men­ta­tion of UHC­fo­cused re­forms in Turkey, along­side con­tin- ued po­lit­i­cal sup­port, al­lowed the coun­try to achieve re­mark­able strides in achiev­ing UHC and im­prov­ing care.” Still, the re­port added that im­ple­men­ta­tion of the re­forms var­ied na­tion­ally and that sus­tained po­lit­i­cal com­mit­ment to re­form was needed for ad­e­quate fi­nanc­ing and poli­cies that cover ser­vices.

Somalia, the Cen­tral African Repub­lic and Afghanistan ranked low­est.

In­dia ranked 127 with poor per­for­mance on air pol­lu­tion, san­i­ta­tion and acute child­hood mal­nu­tri­tion.

The re­view was pub­lished ahead of the 72nd ses­sion of the U.N. Gen­eral As­sem­bly open­ing in New York Tues­day.

The Mersin City Hospi­tal is among the gov­ern­ment’s po­jects to fur­ther ad­vance univer­sal health­care.

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