Major shortcomings five months after the devastating earthquakes

Major shortcomings five months after the devastating earthquakes
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Lack of intensive care units and cancer risk for health workers a few months after the disaster.

The Health and Social Services Workers' Union (SES) has prepared a report on the activities of health institutions and the working conditions of health workers in Hatay. The city was devastated by major earthquakes in early 2023. The SES report underlines that a few months after the disaster, the city still lacks an efficient health system.

The report mentions that there are many problems in terms of workers' health. "Patients are at risk of infection. An effective health service cannot be provided," the report states.

According to the report by Cumhuriyet's Cengiz Karagoz, the deficiencies of health institutions and hospitals were listed in the report. The problems at Defne State Hospital were described as follows: "Defne State Hospital has no emergency entrance, no waiting room, no intensive care unit. There are constant power cuts, so the equipment does not always work. This facility can only provide primary health care services (outpatient diagnosis and treatment), not the services expected from a modern hospital".


The report also highlights the shortcomings of the field hospitals set up in the region after the earthquakes.

"There are serious hygiene problems in the field hospitals. Some of them don't have emergency units. There is a sterilisation problem in the operating theatres. There X-ray machines have an insulation problem, which may cause health workers to develop cancer in the future," the report said.

The report also drew attention to the shortcomings of Samandag State Hospital, saying: "There are no cardiology and neurology specialists in the hospital. There is no MRI machine and no angio unit. The laboratory is working but cannot perform all test that were performed during the pre-earthquake period. There is no secondary intensive care unit. There are many health problems for the staff. The lack of ventilation in the orthopaedic room, where casts are applied, is posing a health risk to the staff. Patients are also at risk of infection. An effective health service cannot be provided.

The report also contains striking details about the working and living conditions of health workers and stresses: "Although there are qualified health workers in the city, they can't provide services on an efficient basis. Problems and solutions are not discussed with the health workers, and they aren't involved in the decision-making process. In addition, the health workers' salaries are insufficient. There are many deficiencies in housing and nutrition. The food is unhealthy and unsatisfactory and there is a housing problem for health and social service workers".