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Turkey’s health system, measures curb spread of virus, official says

Turkey’s health system, measures curb spread of virus, official says

Turkey’s strong health system and effective measures against the novel coronavirus helped curb its further spread, according to the ruling party’s foreign affairs deputy chair.

“The Republic of Turkey, along with its strong health care system, has provided effective measures and opportunities in its fight against the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) that has reached unmanageable dimensions since its outbreak,” Cevdet Yılmaz, Justice and Development (AK) Party’s foreign affairs deputy chair, said in a written statement, referring to the situation in the world caused by the disease.

Yılmaz said Turkey’s efforts “resulted in a low number of cases in comparison with other countries and prevented further spread of the deadly virus that affected the entire world.”

Highlighting the “splendid” work of the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board, formed by the Health Ministry on Jan. 10, he said the board was set up even before the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic in mid-March.

“[…] the primal coordination of process management in our provinces has become one of the most important reasons for the emergence of the successful outcome,” Yılmaz said.

He said a wide-range of management and decision-making mechanisms titled General Hygiene Board and Provincial Pandemic Board were also established in all 81 provinces of Turkey to manage the outbreak.

“During the pandemic, the work of these two boards played a crucial role in informing our citizens in the most accurate way, carrying out precautions precisely, eliminating the grievances that occurred, providing the necessary assistance and support,” he said, adding that they also ensured people’s access to the services without any pause.

Municipalities’ cooperation

Yilmaz said that despite differences in political views, nearly all of the municipalities have taken all necessary measures in line with the government and provincial board directives.

“They meticulously ensured the hygiene of cities, provided comprehensive assistance to the needy in order to minimize the effects of the pandemic, and made facilitating aids on payments and rentals for crafts regardless of their party affiliation,” he said.

He noted that the municipalities’ services included psychosocial support as well as improving the conditions of the healthcare workers, who are at the front line in this process.

Yılmaz also said unlike some other countries, Turkey did not limit the statutory authority of the municipalities, and even increased the budget allocated to them regardless of the political views.

“[…] all municipalities were encouraged to work hard and engage in the process,” he said.

Coordination is key in aid efforts

He said, unfortunately, there were some municipalities of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) that did not “comply with the requirements of this coordination during this period of time.”

“It is obvious that the lack of coordination will create a major deficiency in implementing the measures to be taken in the fight against the pandemic, and that it will affect inefficiently the activities of delivering aid to our affected citizens and cause problems,” he added.

Noting that no municipality is barred from aid activities in coordination with the state, he said “these works are carried out through a unified coordination center” under the framework of the provincial boards.

“In this context, removing the disorganization and deficiency created by the duplications in aid distributions within this framework has been essential,” Yılmaz said.

Due to the consequences of the uncoordinated actions, some CHP municipalities had to be warned, Yılmaz added.

“In this difficult time, like any other country, it is not acceptable for municipalities to violate legal and institutional framework and sabotage the process of acting in coordination at this vitally important stage for all,” he stressed.

“What we need in this very humanitarian moment is more social solidarity and less political show,” Yılmaz noted.