- Turkey has the highest ICU bed capacity per 100,000 people compared to European countries, the US and China.
Tactical Talk: The death rate in Turkey is slower than in the top 10 countries in terms of the number of cases, and the recovery rate is one of the highest. For instance, the ‘increase rate’ of deaths in Turkey is half of that in the U.S., which has suffered the most casualties.
How? According to the Turkish Ministry of Health, Turkey had stockpiled 1 million units of the medicines hydroxychloroquine and favipiravir exactly one-and-a-half months before any cases were seen in the country. So far, no country has utilized hydroxychloroquine under protocols similar to the one implemented in Turkey. While this medicine is used to treat the second or third stages of the disease in many countries, Turkey has required not only diagnosed patients, but also patients who are under tight medical follow-up at home, and even ones suspected of being infected, to take this medicine in the early stages of infection.
* The number of beds per 1,000 inhabitants is about 2.8 in Turkey, where public hospitals have 75 percent of the total bed capacity *
In addition, according to the Ministry of Health, favipiravir brought from China is also being used in a unique protocol in Turkey. Unlike Chinese doctors, Turkish doctors have discovered that early intubation extends the length of the disease and giving high-flow oxygen leads to more successful and faster treatment. Currently, Turkey is working on plasma therapy, stem cell use and vaccines to combat the virus. A patent application has also been filed for a medical device that shines ultraviolet light into the lungs.
Another difference is that while the health care systems of all the developed countries that outdo Turkey in terms of the number of confirmed cases are on the verge of collapse, Turkey has no problems with intensive care units, medical equipment or its number of health care staff and hospitals. This is both because of the large intensive care capacity of city hospitals that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has built over the last five years. It is also because of the obligation that all private and public hospitals have to offer free treatment services, including intensive care, to all the people diagnosed with COVID-19, regardless of whether they are citizens, refugees or residents, under a decree the president has issued. In addition, Turkey is the only state that has started distributing free masks, five masks per person every week, both at home and in pharmacies. So far, some 30 million people have been provided with masks and sanitizers free of charge.