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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Turkey on the way of universal health coverage through the health transformation program (2003-13)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
URL http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2015/01/15/000470435_20150115​140502/Rendered/PDF/913260WP0UHC0C00Box385331B00PUBLIC0.pdf
Beginning in 2003, Turkey initiated a series of reforms under the Health Transformation
Program (HTP) that over the past decade have led to the achievement of universal health coverage
(UHC). The progress of Turkey’s health system has few — if any — parallels in scope and speed. Before
the reforms, Turkey’s aggregate health indicators lagged behind those of OECD member states and other
middle-income countries. The health financing system was fragmented, with four separate insurance
schemes and a “Green Card” program for the poor, each with distinct benefits packages and access
rules. Both the Ministry of Labor and Social Security and Ministry of Health (MoH) were providers and
financiers of the health system, and four different ministries were directly involved in public health care
delivery. Turkey’s reform efforts have impacted virtually all aspects of the country’s health system and
have resulted in the rapid expansion of the proportion of the population covered and of the services to
which they are entitled. At the same time, financial protection has improved. For example, (i) insurance
coverage increased from 64 to 98 percent between 2002 and 2012; (ii) the share of pregnant women
having four antenatal care visits increased from 54 to 82 percent between 2003 and 2010; and (iii) citizen
satisfaction with health services increased from 39.5 to 75.9 percent between 2003 and 2011. Despite
dramatic improvements there is still space for Turkey to continue to improve its citizens’ health outcomes,
and challenges lie ahead for improving services beyond primary care. The main criticism to reform has
so far come from health sector workers; the future sustainability of reform will rely not only on continued
fiscal support to the health sector but also the maintanence of service provider satisfaction.

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