Health reform carries Turkey up in human development

Health reforms introduced in Turkey over recent years have led to a leap in the country’s human development to reach the UN’s very high category.

Claudio Tomas, the resident representative of the UN Development Program (UNDP) in Turkey, said the country has made “incredible progress” in terms of life expectancy, schooling and income per capita.

“These three reasons basically have pushed up the human development index of Turkey to the very high human development level,” he said.

According to the UNDP on Monday, Turkey was classified in the very high development category in 2018, with a Human Development Index (HDI) value of 0.806. The country was ranked 59th among 189 countries and territories.

“In particular one of the reasons why the life expectancy has gone up in Turkey so much is because the country is very successful in health reform,” Tomasi said, also citing the drop in child mortality.

He underlined the life expectancy rose to 77 years in 2018, up from 64 in 1990, calling it a “big achievement”.

Tomasi pointed that Gross National Income (GNI) per capita in Turkey inched up to $24,000 from $11,000 in almost a three-decade.

While HDI value has soared by 22.4% since 1990, Tomasi said Turkey saw nearly 40% rise during the same period.

“This is much faster and better. Comparatively speaking, the progress of Turkey on these dimension in these 28 years has been higher than in other countries,” he added.

On the contrary, the divergence between least developed and developed countries widened, Tomasi said.

Pointing to emerging new generation of inequalities such as education, technology, and climate change, he said technology-based transformation in the Turkish economy creates “serious” challenges and opportunities for the country.

Guven Sak, the managing director of Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), underlined that the report is based on long-term indicators.

“Rise in life expectancy in health, decrease in infant mortality and Turkey’s long-term performance in GNI figures brought the country the success in the index,” he stated.

Globalism, Sak said, paved the way for easy access to developments in the health sector.

“Turkey’s progress in the last 15-20 years is utterly important to which health reform contributed.”

He added that the country should focus on steps should be taken in the future rather than successes gained.

“We should concentrate on what kind of injustices will arise,” he said, suggesting Turkey to better its performance in social gender equality.

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