Turkey's health: High antibiotics consumption, few suicides

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 04.11.2015 22:30

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released its Health At A Glance report Wednesday that looks into public health and healthcare services in member countries of the organization.

The reports shows Turkey has one of the lowest rates of suicide, at seven or fewer per 100,000 people, along with its neighbor Greece. It also reveals both countries have the highest rates of antibiotics consumption compared to other countries in the 34-member body.

According to latest official figures supplied by Turkish authorities on 2013 suicide rates, about four out of 100,000 people committed suicide in the country. Experts link the low rate of suicide to religious beliefs of the predominantly Muslim country as Islam denounces taking one's own life.

As for antibiotics consumption, the country is struggling to educate the public to be cautious about random intakes, even in the case of slight illnesses. Yet, a culture of reluctance to see a doctor in the case of an illness and turning to drugs borrowed from friends and relatives even in the slight case of flu prevails in the country. A report released by the Health Ministry last year revealed that about 26 boxes of medicine, particularly antibiotics are consumed per person every year in the country, an alarming level according to experts.

On the bright side, the OECD report also shows improvement in Turkey's healthcare, such as a rapid growth in the number of doctors and nurses both in the absolute number and on a per capita basis compared to the early 2000s. The report also says although Turkey, along with Mexico, Hungary and Slovakia have the lowest life expectancy at birth and older ages, it achieved gains in longevity over the past decades and was quickly moving toward the OECD average, which is close to 80. According to figures by Turkey's statistical agency TurkStat, average life expectancy increased by 1.7 years and reached 78 for the years of 2013 and 2014.

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