Turkey’s health spending rises amid COVID-19 pandemic

Turkey’s health spending rises amid COVID-19 pandemic
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The 2020 figures on health spending shows significant rise, as the coronavirus pandemic took its toll on healthcare costs for Turkey. The country’s total health expenditures posted a year-on-year rise of 24.3% to reach TL 249.9 billion ($35.6 billion), the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) said on Wednesday.

While the government’s spending constitutes 79.2% (TL 198 billion or $28.2 billion) of total health expenditures, the share from households was 16%. Insurance companies’ share was 2.6%, and 2.1% of spending was met by others, such as nongovernmental organizations. Last year, the average USD/TRY exchange rate was 7.02.

Hospitals with 49.4% had the largest share in the health institutions which were applied for purchasing health care services and products in 2020. “Hospitals were followed by retail sale and other providers of medical goods with 25.2% and providers of ambulatory health care with 10.3%, respectively,” TurkStat said.

Health expenditures per person in 2020 was 2,997 Turkish liras (some $427). The share of health spending in the country’s gross domestic product was 5% last year, up from 4.7% in 2019.

The country, which reformed its crumbling healthcare infrastructure in the past two decades, heavily invested in “city hospitals,” massive complexes of medical facilities comprised of multiple hospitals, and opened hospitals exclusively catering to COVID-19 patients before and at the height of the pandemic. The government also expanded social security coverage for the majority of citizens.

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