Turkey's Ministry of Health plans to establish 14 centers in 12 provinces across the country to better meet the needs of patients with rare diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
The fully-equipped centers will aim to overcome or ease the difficulties patients experience during such diseases' diagnosis and treatment, Turkish daily Milliyet reported.
Speaking at the Rare Diseases Research Commission at the Turkish parliament, Health Services Deputy Chairman Mehmet Gürbüz said that up to six million people in Turkey were suffering from the aforementioned rare diseases, which have more than 6,000 different types.
Gürbüz said that 80 percent of cases in Turkey could be traced to genetic factors, and 20 to 25 percent were caused by consanguineous marriage.
"Some 35 percent deaths from genetically-inherited diseases can be attributed to these rare diseases, while 30 percent of children with these diseases die before the age of five," Gürbüz said.
Underlining that the main problem was diagnosing the diseases early on, Gürbüz said there were special nutritional treatments and diets that can be applied or followed if the diseases are diagnosed in time.
Organ transplantation, replacing the missing enzyme or gene therapy are also some of the methods used in the treatments of these rare diseases.
Gürbüz noted that the centers will use advanced technological devices, and house other clinics and doctors from branches such as neurology, genetics, and metabolic diseases which play a crucial role in the diagnosis of these diseases.