How is marm assistance preparing for a busy tourist season in Turkey this summer? Have you been developing and extending your medical network? How do you ensure fair and reasonable costs for payers?
There were high hopes for the tourism season for 2022 at the end of 2021. All indicators were positive and showing healthy progress. However, the economic crisis and rapidly growing inflation, aggravated by the Russia/ Ukraine conflict, has lowered these previously high hopes.
marm regrets to see some major players in assistance moving away from Turkey as a result of the uncontrollable downslide in the Turkish economy. However, being independent and with the knowledge of the local culture for almost 40 years, we were quick to adapt to the changes and take counter measures.
On the network side, there is hardly any corner or service provider in Turkey where marm had not established a healthy and sound cooperation. Concentration has shifted to the MENA region and the Asia Pacific, as these are the emerging countries for our outbound travel and leisure industry.
The devaluation of the Turkish Lira will be the main factor affecting healthcare and travel costs, as the cost of the sanctions on Russia and their impact on the European economy will cause price hikes, leaving Turkey as an attractive destination for the European traveller.
Has marm assistance been active in Ukraine helping clients caught up in the Ukraine/ Russia conflict? How can the international assistance industry provide more help, do you think?
You will be surprised to hear that there are almost an equal number of people from Ukraine and Russia travelling to Turkey; the Ukrainians for safety concerns, and the Russians who strongly oppose their government’s decision on the war.
The Ukrainians’ priority is to get information from their loved ones and further assistance for the orphans brought to Turkey. marm has written and called assistance companies in Ukraine and offered them office space, accommodation, and transport to the marm headquarters in Istanbul. We have activated and supported some municipalities in support and lodging of the Ukrainian refugees.
I would like to take this opportunity to say that marm is ready to assist in any way possible in this meaningless conflict. I am afraid there is very little help that the global medical assistance industry can offer at this stage as there are so many NGO, governmental organisations and the EU extending much-needed help.
The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is not far away now; what involvement has marm had in providing advice to the organisers about the logistics of setting up medical networks and providing on-the-ground assistance during the event itself?
It is estimated that the World Cup 2022 will host 1.5 million fans in Qatar. It is going to be the most compact tournament in history – fans may be able to watch two live games in a day, in eight stadiums that have all been assessed with regards to their proximity to the seven hospitals already inspected, along with medical assistance at the hotels and means of transport to them.
Detailed information and different scenarios have been studied and shared with marm partners globally. The layout, maps and all related information on the hospitals and healthcare provision in Qatar, and their effective management during the World Cup, have been studied.
Among several other issues marm assistance is working on, we will be able to assist our partners’ clients by providing house call services via our local network in Qatar and an efficient follow up with the use of telemedicine for better and transparent information for medical case management.