Turkey's democratic transition to universal health coverage

Richard Horton, Selina Lo

Research output: Contribution to journalComment / DebateOtherpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This week we publish a part of Turkey's own story, independently reviewed and assessed, about a remarkable revolution in health. 1 A decade ago, Turkey launched policies to achieve universal health coverage, an initiative the Turkish Government called its Health Transformation Program. The analysis we publish today attempts to evaluate this programme—its design, implementation, impact, the reasons for its success, lessons from its failures, and the challenges it faces in coming years. No health programme on the scale of that introduced by Turkey can ever be perfect. The Health Transformation Program is no exception. A radical political commitment to universal coverage meant that some groups in society, notably health professionals, felt they were sometimes experiencing an erosion of their professionalism and independence. But the findings reported here indicate that, despite tensions and even conflicts, Turkey's health reforms have delivered important benefits to patients and to public health. For example, under-5, infant, and neonatal mortality have been substantially reduced through targeted health programmes for women and children. Insurance coverage for the poorest increased more than four-fold between 2003 and 2011.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3
Number of pages1
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number9886
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

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