By Can Erozden
Turkey has earned roughly $1.5 billion from medical tourism in 2018 and could increase this figure five times by 2023, the health minister said Thursday.
Fahrettin Koca attended Anadolu Agency Editors' Desk on Thursday where he said that mostly people from Azerbaijan, Iraq, Georgia, Germany and Russia come to Turkey and they usually prefer eye, oncology, radiotherapy and neurosurgery treatments.
Turkey earned $4.4 billion between 2013 to 2017 from health tourism, according to official data compiled by Anadolu Agency.
Some surgeries are 90 percent cheaper in Turkey than other countries.
Turkey is one of the world's top destinations for international medical tourism as nearly 700,000 foreigners visited the country last year to receive medical treatment.
Koca also spoke about a health app named "e-Nabiz" (e-Pulse) through which users can record their health information.
"There are now 9 million active users of the e-Nabiz app," he said.
Also, he said, Turkey will develop a standard single-color packing for cigarettes to reduce its appeal for customers.
He added that the brand name will be displayed in small fonts and the packs will not carry a logo.
Turkey will also increase the number of rehabilitation centers for smokers across the country, he said.
Smoking in closed public spaces has been restricted since 2008 in Turkey and tobacco product should carry a mandatory warning label.
Some 39.5 percent men and 12.4 percent women smoke in Turkey, according to World Health Organization.