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Turkish Cyprus

Cyprus Turkish Medical Association

CTMA National Report, September 2018

The Magnitude of the political and the economic crisis concerning the devaluation of the Turkish Lira

As Turkish Lira is the currency unit in our country, the abrupt economic and political crisis in Turkey created a huge impact on North Cyprus . Turkish lira devaluated more than 50 percent during recent months and the calculated inflation has been about %40. This means that the health as well as the whole budget is halved by now. More over, the recovery process of the economy is still unknown and unpredictable. The country was not well prepared for the crisis, and midterm and late term impacts may be much more destroying. For example the number of unemployed people, people with low income and the amount of household debts will increase, the health and social inequalities will be much more dramatic. The cost of living extremely multiply, making disadvantaged groups desperate. As the pharmaceutical prices rised parallelly the devaluation, accessibility to drugs became a problem. All of these together will in turn increase the necessity of government hospitals and public health services

The Government Responses to the Crisis

The government decided to make some measurements starting with a cut in overtime work fees of public servants including health workers (doctors, nurses) by %65 and save 20 million Turkish Liras. Our association CTMA rejected and made statements in order to create public opinion and prevent this attempt. Physicians Union (TCPU) and the unions of the other stakeholders strike very recently and an agreement has been achived, accordingly the unions accepted %15 cut from the overtime work fees for a period of four months. Both our association and union declared that “saving from health means saving from life”.

General Issues

Apart from the economical and political crisis, shortage of doctors and other health workers are the ongoing issues in our country. Insufficient employment strategies put a huge load on the shoulders of the doctors. Doctors working in the public sector are burned out. Ministry of health is trying to overcome the lack of doctor issiue by forcing them practice in multiple workplaces which impairs patient safety and as well as team work amongst doctors. Our salaries melted with the devaluation. Most of the physicians’ working time is more than 48 hours per week and we do not have compensatory rest.

The population in our country is unstable. On the one hand we receive immigrants from Turkey, Middle East, far East even Africa, on the other hand we suffer from brain drainage. One of the consequencies of the immigration is the unfamiliar infection diseases which should be taken account cautiously.

The government has been avoiding investment in public hospitals for a long time which ensures plenty of patient referrals to private sector and abroad and huge wasteful spending. Additionally, lack of investment, doctors and health workers makes the waiting lists longer and longer. Our association and union keep saying that health is not a cost but an investment.

One positive thing to mention is that the Parliament has changed the criminal law which was punishing physicians heavily without taking concern whether the reason is complication or malpractice. This change has been an important earning for doctors.
In the near future we don’t expect things to go well in North Cyprus but we are working hard to overcome all the difficulties with solidarity and hope bright future not only in North Cyprus but