Turkish gov't aims for trademark in health care tourism

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 09.08.2019 00:16

In recent years, Turkey has achieved significant momentum in health care tourism and has become a growing center of attraction with improved services featuring cutting-edge technology, competent experts and affordable prices.

The Turkish government now seeks to create its own trademark in health care tourism and the relevant process has started, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

"We will make a major launch in the coming one or two months," Koca told Anadolu Agency's (AA) Finance Desk yesterday. "Within the scope of health tourism, over 500,000 patients arrived in Turkey in 2018," the minister said, adding that this figure will be exceeded in 2019. Turkey will target a greater share in global health tourism in the period ahead, according to Koca.

"We will have health attaches in countries we have set as targets in the new period. What we actually want to do in this context is to establish advanced diagnostic centers in the countries that we determined as targets. In other words, we will do what no other country that has a share in health tourism has done," the minister said.

Indicating they want to open diagnosis centers that would do follow-ups and checkups when patients treated in Turkey go back to their countries, Koca emphasized they are planning a foundation that would work with the dynamism of the private sector and that is a public property under the title of International Health Services Inc. (USHAŞ).

A subsidiary of the Health Ministry, USHAŞ was established to promote the services Turkey offers in health tourism abroad. USHAŞ commenced its operations in February this year. Pointing out that Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan in Asia, and Iraq, Bahrain and Qatar in the Middle East may be the target countries, Koca said they are planning to offer follow-up care and diagnoses through medical centers in these countries.

Around 551,748 tourists visited Turkey for health-oriented services last year, an increase of 27.3% compared to the previous year, according to Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) data. Koca earlier said Turkey's revenue in health tourism has reached $1.5 billion and that they aim to increase this revenue five times by 2030. Health tourists choose Turkey for a variety of reasons, including price, quality, technical conditions, short waiting periods and high-end facilities. Turkey holds a prominent place in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and organ transplants as well as dental care and plastic surgery.

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