Minister of Health Professor Recep Akdağ attended the 9th Ambassadors Conference organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Minister Akdağ gave a speech on national values and global targets in health.
After stating that Turkey has achieved the level of developed countries in health, Akdağ said: "We are now in the super league in health but our needs are changing. Citizen satisfaction has increased considerably. Now, we have a more ambitious target: 80%. Our needs have indeed changed. Diseases which are entirely related to changing lifestyles are facing us. We will intensively invest in health promotion and implement new initiatives by 2023. Turkey reduced the burden of diseases by 4% in the 2003-2013 period. Only a few other countries have managed to do that. But we have to enter into a novel era to lower the burden of disease further."
Akdağ recalled the "people first" notion of the Health Transformation Program and emphasized that the outcomes of the Program are recognized internationally and the Program is considered a model.
Akdağ explained the positive impacts of the Program in all targeted areas. In respect of the broad international recognition of the achievements of the Health Transformation Program, Akdağ said:
"We have achieved physical, financial and social access to healthcare by spending only 5.4% of our GDP. This includes both public and private expenditures. This share of health in GDP is the lowest among OECD countries. Of course we sometimes say "We invest heavily in health". But that is not what I mean here. The share of health expenditures in GDP is the lowest across OECD".
Minister Akdağ stated that the health indicators in Turkey have improved beyond the expectations of the World Health Organization including extended life expectancy at birth and significant reductions in maternal and infant mortalities.
Akdağ emphasized that these improvements have carried Turkey up to the category of developed countries in the field of health and added: "The 1998 estimate of WHO concerning life expectancy at birth in 2025 was 75 years. We achieved 78 years in 2015. The same is true for infant mortalities."