Disabled and chronically ill have difficulty buying basic healthcare products amid soaring prices

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Disabled and sick people in Turkey are having difficulty affording basic medicine and healthcare products due to increasing prices and ineffective government policies, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing Independent Turkish service.

Consumer prices accelerated to 61.14 percent at an annual rate, up from 54.4 percent in February, and the rising cost of living is also reflected in healthcare products. Activists and opposition politicians said the price of products, such as sanitary pads, have soared and that many chronically ill people are no longer able to buy such products.

Mehmet Güzelmansur, a deputy from the Republican People’s Party, said although disabled and chronically ill people were entitled to public aid, the amount had not increased in line with rising prices.

“The price of sanitary pads has increased by 100 percent. However, public aid has stayed the same. Many sick people are currently not able to afford these products and are put in a very vulnerable position,” Güzelmansur said.

Bülent Özdemir, from the Social Rights and Research Association (Toplumsal Haklar ve Araştırmalar Derneği), said many chronically ill people cannot maintain proper hygiene because of rising prices.

“Sanitary pads need to be used four times a day, but this has become too expensive for many people. Chronically ill and disabled people have to use money for other necessities, too; therefore, they try to economize where they can. But this results in poor hygiene practices,” Özdemir said.

Derya Işık from the Medeva Medical Company, which sell healthcare products, said the government needed to develop new policies so patients’ insurance covered all their medical expenses.

“Poor hygiene can have detrimental results, such as urinary tract infections, skin infections and bed sores,” she said. “Therefore, it is important that the government develop policies for chronically sick people to be reimbursed for their medical expenses.”

The weakening lira and the rising cost of living have become major sources of public discontent in Turkey as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan faces an election next year.

The currency was stable following the latest inflation data, trading at 14.7 lira against the dollar and 16.2 lira against euro.

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