Turkish Medical Association: 2021 healthcare budget falls by 17 pct amid worsening pandemic

Following a year with high inflation and the devaluation of the Turkish Lira that has shrunk budgets in dollar terms, medical experts warn that Turkey's healthcare budget for 2021 is insufficient as the COVID-19 pandemic in the country has deepened and the healthcare system has been pushed to its limits.

Duvar English

As Turkey's coronavirus pandemic has taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) warned that the country's healthcare budget for 2021 is insufficient, as it endured a 17 percent cut from this year's in dollar terms.

The healthcare budget for next year should be at least 10 percent of the general budget, according to TTB Central Council member Dr. Deniz Erdoğdu.

“The budget of the Health Ministry should be suitable for pandemic conditions. The share of preventative rather than remedial health services should be increased,” Erdoğdu said.

“In our country, low-income workers have to work long hours in unhealthy conditions, earning wages that put them at poverty and hunger levels. Due to high inflation leading to the consumption of unsafe food, malnutrition and poor housing conditions, they are getting sick easier and more frequently, making COVID-19 more severe,” Erdoğdu said.

The TTB said that a wealth tax should be considered and that taxes on basic needs such as food, electricity, water, transportation should be abolished or reduced.

The organization added that minimum wage income earners should not be taxed, and called for the status of private and city hospitals to be changed to public and state hospitals.