As the COVID19 pandemic rages on across the world, the newly reconstructed earthquake-proof Okmeydanı Training and Research Hospital in the metropolitan city of İstanbul commences its first admissions on March 31st, 2020. This is a very timely reaping of the fruits of forward thinking health sector policies by the Turkish Government plus a EUR 158.9 million investment from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group.
In an area of approximately 180 thousand square meters, more than 600 hospital beds equipped with state-of-the-art technologies inclusive of 99 high-tech Intensive Care Units (ICUs) have started serving the inpatients from Istanbul and nearby areas suffering from the fast spreading COVID19 disease.
On the occasion, Mr. Salah Jelassi, Regional Manager of the IsDB Group Regional Hub in Turkey, expressed satisfaction that the launching of the hospital has come at a time when it was most required. “The great and ceaseless support and cooperation from the Government of Turkey, the Ministry of Health, in particular, enabled the IsDB Group and the İstanbul Governorship through İstanbul Project Coordination Unit, to prepare this unique project for utilization just in time as nearly 50 per cent of the progress was made in 2019,” he elaborates.
This achievement has come on the back of the renovation and modernization drive by the Turkish Government fully supported by its leading development partner, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group eventually reconstructing and thereby transforming the old hospital to a state-of-the-art seismic-resistant healthcare facility which will also play the role of a major center of excellence in Cardiology and Organ-Transplant, Mr. Jelassi explains.
This newly-built hospital has been constructed and equipped in the framework of the Istanbul Seismic Risk Reduction and Emergency Preparedness Project (ISMEP) under implementation by the Istanbul Governorship’s İstanbul Project Coordination Unit (IPCU) through a loan signed by with the Islamic Development Bank Group and the Turkish Ministry of Treasury and Finance.
According to Mr. Gökhan Elgin, the Director of IPCU, the new Okmeydanı Hospital which is fully capable of generating its own required energy, will be serving 1.5 million out-patients per year while offering treatment for 700 thousand emergency patients and carrying out 45 thousand surgical operations of various types.
The new Okmeydanı Hospital has been built on the same ground where nearly half a century ago, the original Okmeydanı Hospital first started serving the people (in 1971).
Apart from its highly seismic resistant structure, the new hospital building houses several big courtyards that can be used as shelters in the wake of possible earthquakes. The successful completion of the project marks a monumental stone for Turkey’s knowledge sharing and skills transfer with regard to constructing similar seismic-resistant structures in other IsDB Group member countries.