TURKEY –The World Bank’s board of directors has approved US$500 million in additional funding to assist Turkey in its fight against COVID-19.

The funds, which will have a maturity of 10.5 years with a five-year grace period, will be used to ensure access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in Turkey and form part of an expanded health response to the pandemic, the bank said.

An additional US$250 million will be provided as co-financing from the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB), the bank said, adding that the project aims to help meet the cost vaccine purchases.

This project will allow the Government to refocus its financial capacities on activities and reforms that may have been adversely affected during the pandemic,” Task Leader Nadwa Rafeh said in the press release.

The Government will be able to reinforce key reform activities currently underway, namely strengthening case management of non-communicable diseases through a network of healthy living centers and improving preparedness for public health threats and emergencies,” Rafeh noted.

The World Bank had previously approved US$100 million in funds for Turkey in April 2020, as part of the bank’s COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Program.

Turkey’s COVID-19 national vaccination program was swiftly deployed by the authorities and has been one of the most successful and inclusive vaccination programs in response to the pandemic,” said Auguste Tano Kouame, World Bank Country Director for Turkey.

“With this project the World Bank is very happy to be contributing to saving lives in Turkey.”

In separate news, the TRUST-LONDON Medical Travel Event, has launched a medical campaign to promote Turkey healthcare.

The event, which will take place on June 21 in London, aims to connect medical travel companies, travel agencies, government and private insurance companies in the UK with Turkish hospitals, clinics, and facilitators.

With long NHS wait lists and widespread use of social media to promote medical treatment in Turkey, an increasing number of UK medical tourists are visiting the country for treatment.

Turkey is becoming a more popular destination for people seeking dental, cosmetic, hair transplant, and bariatric (weight-loss) procedures.

The country’s economic crisis has helped to keep prices low enough for Europeans to afford.

This, along with visa-free entry and short flight distances from much of West Asia, North Africa, and Europe, all contribute to the allure of visiting Turkey for medical and cosmetic procedures.

This growth has also occurred alongside an increasing number of cases where treatment received in Turkey has gone wrong, prompting the UK government to warn against medical travel to the country.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advised UK citizens planning to travel to Turkey for medical treatment, elective surgery, or dental procedures to conduct extensive research ahead of time.

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