3. Providing health services effectively
The section on PROVIDING HEALTH SERVICES EFFECTIVELY describes approaches for service delivery planning and patient pathways for suspected COVID-19 cases. It also considers efforts by countries to maintain other essential services during periods of excessive demand for health services.
3.1 Planning services
In order to enhance the capacity of health professionals to treat COVID-19 patients, the MoH conducted online trainings for the field teams and hospital staff
On 21 March 2020, all hospitals in Turkey with the necessary infrastructure, regardless of their legal status (private, foundation or government hospital) were declared pandemic response hospitals and could be used if necessary. Specific hospitals, mainly around the Istanbul area, have been set aside to deal with COVID-19 cases (see Section 2.1 Physical infrastructure).
Provincial Health Directorates Communicable Diseases Department teams and primary care providers were responsible for dealing with probable cases and treating mild COVID-19 cases, and contact tracing. Serious cases were dealt with in hospitals (see Section 3.2 Managing cases). An electronic registration system (called HSYS) connected the entire health system and facilities, including primary care settings and hospitals.
Telemedicine is being promoted as a tool to conduct patient consultations where appropriate. For example, the Ministry of Health has given authorization to primary care providers to use e-consultations.
In addition, a hot-line (184) which was previously used for all health-related issues, is now used for any consultations related to COVID-19.
Public Health Directorate General released thematic infection prevention and control guidelines for adapted service provision in non-COVID-19healthcare facilities (e.g. dentists, psychiatric care clinics, operation rooms, physiotherapy centers, dialysis centers etc.) (https://covid19bilgi.saglik.gov.tr/tr/enfeksiyon-kontrol-onlemleri).
Real-time PCR supported laboratories were enabled progressively across the country by the Virology Laboratory of the Department of Microbiology Reference Laboratories to detect SARS-CoV-2 in respiratory tract samples. More than 100 laboratories have been authorized for the tests.
General Directorate of Costal and Borders Health of Turkey is also releasing infection information, WHO situation reports and implementations for points of entry.