Turkish Medical Association Second President Dr. Ali Çerkezoğlu answers questions on the pandemic

“There are many suspicious cases in the hospitals. There is no delay in taking care of the patients but there is a silence when it comes to testing. This doesn’t make sense. Let’s be transparent, find testing kits, and do the tests.”

Turkish Medical Association Second President Dr. Ali Çerkezoğlu answers questions on the pandemic

The Second President of the Turkish Medical Association, Ali Çerkezoğlu answered the questions of Sendika.org on the recent coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Çerkezoğlu emphasized the importance of testing in his field as health care professionals. He said for the longest time tests for the virus was only being done in Ankara and even with that the number of test kits available were insufficient. He added that the authorities reported that the number of testing stations would be extended soon to 11 and would spread to other towns later.

When asked why the government limited the number of tests, Çerkezoğlu replied, “We don’t know the reason for this but there could be two answers for this. Either they wanted to show a low number of cases and present a picture of success or there wasn’t sufficient preparation.”

He added, “There are many suspicious cases in the hospitals. There is no delay in taking care of the patients but there is a silence when it comes to testing. This doesn’t make sense. Let’s be transparent, find testing kits, and do the tests.”

The Second President of the Turkish Medical Association said, “On March 15th, they declared 18 cases. Next day they declared 47. This is not a small jump. They only made the second announcement after as the Turkish Medical Association we warned that we were getting a higher rate of cases and after a patient shared on his social media post that he had been treated but was not included in the statistics.”

“Strangely they are making announcements in installments. The energy should be spent not on the tactics of announcements but on coordination” added Çerkezoğlu.
Asked about the curfews and the government imposed state of emergency that existed long time before the pandemic, Ali Çerkezoğlu replied, “We need an emergency type of operation in the health area not in a state of emergency. We need such an emergency right now.”

The relationship between the Turkish government and the Turkish Medical Association has not been a smooth one. Asked to respond on this relationship, he replied, “The Turkish Health Ministry that did not grant a single appointment to the Turkish Health Association in the past 1.5 years finally decided to meet with us and scheduled an appointment about a week ago. They finally realized the seriousness of the matter. We don’t know how democratic this is going to be but it is important to have people of merit and scientific background to be present in a scientific council.

“Maybe at other times the country can tolerate a mentality that is shaped by religious bigotry opposing reason and science but the social cost of not giving a serious struggle against a viral pandemic could be very high.”

He added, “This country fought against the malaria years ago. They found somebody who had a meager education in the countryside and trained them and solved the crises that way. Just like the barefoot doctors of Mao. They achieved success in the days before technology. We should be able to develop a sustainable local system based on democracy that corresponds to the 2020’s.”

Sendika.Org News (M.B.)