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Health care system in Turkey - Statistics and Facts

In 2003, the ministry of health in Turkey launched the Health Transformation Program (HTP), a ten-year health reform with the main goal to provide universal health coverage to all, especially the poor, amongst strengthening primary care services and expanding hospital capacity to improve health outcomes. Indeed, the percentage of the Turkish population covered by government health insurance has increased roughly 27 percent since 2013 and reached 98.8 percent by 2019. Health insurance is now mandatory for all under Turkey’s General Health Insurance (Genel Sağlık Sigortası, GSS) scheme with those earning under a certain threshold receiving free health care.

Health care expenditure

Given its status as an emerging economy, expenditure on health in Turkey per capita is low compared to developed European nations. With just 4.7 percent of GDP, Turkey’s spending on health care as a percentage of GDP positioned the nation in last place amongst other OECD-European countries. Despite this, total health expenditure has been steadily increasing throughout the past years and stood at over 200 billion Turkish lira in 2019 (approx. 21 billion USD).

Health care resources

The general trend over the preceding ten years has shown a rise in the number of hospitals in turkey, with 1,538 hospitals in 2019. In the same year, there were over 143 thousand hospital beds in public hospitals and 51 thousand beds in private hospitals, both figures have gone up year-on-year since 2000. Moreover, there were over 160 thousand health care physicians employed in Turkey that same year. This equates to roughly 517 citizens per physician and just 420 citizens to each nurse.

Public opinion on health care

Despite all the progress, in 2021 less than half of surveyed individuals in Turkey thought the quality of health care they have access to was good or very good. Furthermore, over half agreed that many people in Turkey could not afford good health care. Nevertheless, national health outcomes are still on a positive trend, with life expectancy at birth increasing and infant mortality rate decreasing.

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