Turkey has made significant investments in health information technology in this process thereby has begun to use health information systems such as “big data” and “artificial intelligence” in the decision-making processes. Turkey is one of the countries that took action rapidly related to pandemic. Upon the declaration of pandemic originating China and the detection of this disease in other countries, Turkey began to make preparations against the possibility of the detection of this disease in its boundaries
In addition, an Operation Center was established within the Ministry of Health on January 10, 2020, exactly 31 days before the World Health Organization declared the disease as a pandemic.
The Scientific Board was established consisting of successful scientists specialized in different branches simultaneously This Board is an advisory board that makes a scientific opinion about any steps to be taken from the beginning of the COVID 19 process.
Resignation of all healthcare workers was banned. The distribution of the health personnel and equipment plans were made for each region according to the alternative pandemic scenarios.
CASE DETECTION AND CONTROL: FILIATION ACTIVITIES
Turkey gives special importance to the filiation activities for the strict monitoring and isolation of people having contact with cases within the community by putting communal limitations to keep the disease spread. Filiation has an important role in the success of Turkey so far.
Filiation is a method of tracking from whom the virus is transmitted and who has infected. In other words, in every positive case, it is the method of tracing the infection of virus and determining the chain of spread.
For filiation activities, filiation teams (20.000-person) have been established consisting of primary care physicians and dentists for the following contacted cases in whole Turkey.
Since the first case on March 11, the virus was traced through the contacts of each new patient. With the tracing method, everyone has been contacted who has been in contact with a person having the disease in the last 4 days. The necessary tests have been made, and positive cases have been quarantined and treated. In this context, 600 thousand filiation studies have been carried out so far.
The contacted people were reached and asked to isolate themselves, and their evaluations and tests were made in their locations. The training were provided for preventing the risk of infection. In this way, 99% of those who come in contact with positive cases are reached within a period of 20 hours.
With the help of filiation studies, the cases are detected early and the risk of transmitting the disease to others is minimized. Again, the early detection of the patients by means of the filiation provides the early start of the treatment process and increases the recovery rate.
TEST CAPACITY AND ITS NUMBERS
In Turkey, a PCR test is applied to those who have symptoms and consult to health institutions, as well as to citizens that are detected having symptoms during controls and, in the framework of filiation activities, to people who have been in close contact with the aforementioned individuals.
Turkey has so far performed more than 1 million 250 thousand tests. The daily test capacity is 50 thousand.
If needed, human resources and infrastructure are available to increase the daily testing capacity.
HEALTH SYSTEM AND EQUIPMENT CAPACITY
Turkey has a strong health care system capacity and infrastructure. The fight against Covid-19 has not created a strain on Turkey’s health system capacity.
Turkey is very well prepared in terms of the intensive care beds and mechanic ventilation used within the context of the fight against COVID 19. The Turkish health system has 39,934 intensive care beds and 17,852 mechanic ventilators. Even though the peak point has been passed in the pandemic; only 6% of the intensive care bed occupancy rate and only 5% of the ventilator occupancy rate have been reached in the scope of Covid-19. In other words, Covid-19 has not put pressure on Turkey’s health system.
In terms of protective equipment such as masks and protective overall suits, which are of critical importance during the pandemic, Turkey is a self-sufficient country.
Turkey is providing medical aid assistance, which includes masks, protective overall suits, and ventilators, to various countries around the world.
Thanks to the capacity it has reached, Turkey is also not leaving alone its citizens living abroad. Up until now, citizens living abroad and who have requested to return to Turkey have been repatriated. Furthermore, our citizens who cannot receive treatment abroad and their family members are repatriated by aircraft ambulances.
In this framework, our fully equipped ambulance fleet has the capacity to provide services in Turkey and other parts of the world.
METHOD OF TREATMENT
With the data analysis method and health system experience in the context of Covid-19 treatment, Turkey has been able to develop its own algorithm. In this framework, Turkey has stocked the required medicament before the virus spread into its borders.
Thanks to the treatment algorithms, Turkey is more successful than many other countries in the treatment process, and mortality rates are considerably low.
In the rate of conversion of cases to pneumonia in Turkey, there has been a significant drop from 60% to 12%. This situation has also led to a decrease in the need for intensive care.
In addition, the death rate in patients undergoing intensive care has progressively decreased from 58% to 10%.
Turkey’s success in filiation, patient monitoring, and treatment processes is shared with the World Health Organization and other countries which is appreciated and is being followed.
Turkey shares its experience and knowledge acquired during the treatment process with other countries.