The Health Ministry recently rolled out COVID-19 Monitoring Centers in the capital Ankara and central province of Eskişehir, in a bid to see how recovered coronavirus patients are faring.
The centers, which will be opened in 24 more provinces soon, offer free consultation and monitoring services to former patients. The staff at the centers will monitor the health of those patients for at least two years to check if the virus has caused other health complications. The ministry aims to ensure early intervention if patients’ health worsens.
The disease, which can be treated with some medications, can cause new health problems, especially for seriously ill patients, due to its damaging effects on the lungs and other organs. Though exact numbers or scientific studies linking the new health problems to the coronavirus are not available, some elderly patients with chronic illnesses have experienced heart attacks after recovering from the virus, according to media reports.
The centers only track patients who volunteer to be monitored. Health care staff invite them to the centers, and if they accept, they undergo a medical examination, and in case of any health problems, they are directed to doctors.
The first center was opened at Dışkapı Yıldırım Beyazıt Training and Research Hospital in Ankara on Dec. 1. Associate professor Cenk Aypak, the administrator of the center, said monitoring recovered patients is important to see the impact of the virus in the absence of sufficient data to understand how the virus works and how it affects the body.
“Patients will be called in at least seven times in two years for routine checkups,” Aypak told Ihlas News Agency (IHA) on Wednesday.
The center has so far admitted 19 patients. Along with physiological problems, it also monitors the psychological effects of COVID-19 on the patients.