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Turkish doctors perform surgeries on infants in Iraq amid COVID-19 pandemic

Turkish doctors perform surgeries on infants in Iraq amid COVID-19 pandemic

A delegation of Turkish doctors traveled to Iraq to help children who cannot travel abroad due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For a week, eight doctors who traveled to Baghdad from Istanbul, performed surgeries on infants who were born with heart defects. Associate professor Dr. Arda Özyüksel, a heart surgeon in the delegation, described it as an emotional experience for them.

Özyüksel, who works at Medicana International Hospital in Istanbul, says patients seeking treatment in Turkey face obstacles due to travel restrictions stemming from the pandemic. “We were invited by colleagues in Iraq and are glad to get involved in such international cooperation in medicine,” Özyüksel told Demirören News Agency (DHA) on Tuesday. “We were well prepared and had all data regarding patients before our trip. Patients were prepared for surgeries before our arrival, and we successfully performed surgeries,” he said. The hospital where they worked in Baghdad had the necessary technical infrastructure for heart surgeries on adults, he said, but that was not sufficient due to the lack of technical expertise on the subject in the country. “We are now looking to host our colleagues in Iraq to give them a chance to learn more about children’s heart surgeries,” he said.

Turkey, which evolved into a health tourism hub with developments in medical technologies in the country, as well as a qualified workforce in the health sector and massive health infrastructure investments, is now reaching out to countries in the region. Medical charity work and health infrastructure support by state-run agencies to regional countries flourish nowadays as well.