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Turkey has been contact tracing for a century. That offers lessons and perils.

National Geographic Society
National Geographic Partners
Turkish Health Ministry’s
the Ministry of Health
the country’s School of Public Health
the first School of Public Health
the Rockefeller Foundation
the School of Public Health
Johns Hopkins University
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
the Ankara Health Ministry
the World Health
District Health Ministry
the Turkish Health Ministry’s
the Health MInister Fahrettin Koca

Dr Gökçe
Dr Seher Odabası
Necati Dedeoğlu
Binnur Erdem
Hagia Sophia


the Middle East
the Kadıköy

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the United States
West Africa
Neslihan Uyar
Istanbul’s Kadıköy
South Korea

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Positivity     40.00%   
   Negativity   60.00%
The New York Times
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But five months after a modest early surge, daily cases remain low and steady, and the nation doesn’t make the list of the top 100 in cases per capita.Seher Odabaşı and her colleague visit an apartment to swab people who have been in contact with COVID-19 patients in Moda, an upper-class neighboorhood in the Kadıköy district of Istanbul. Dr Seher Odabası and her colleagues are tracking down possible COVID-19 patients as part of Turkish Health Ministry’s contact tracing effort in Kadıköy, Istanbul.Part of this success stems from Turkey’s long legacy of contact tracing, one of the main tools public health officials use to contain outbreaks. While countries such as the United States have struggled to implement effective programs and often depend on volunteers, the contact tracing system in Turkey dates back nearly a century, when it was developed to fight measles and tuberculosis.“There were able physicians working in the Ministry of Health responsible for controlling infectious diseases since the foundation of the Republic [in the] 1920s,” says Necati Dedeoğlu, a retired professor from the country’s School of Public Health, which was originally attached to the Ministry of Health.(Related: The magnitude of America’s contact tracing crisis is hard to overstate.)These medical detectives not only track down the contacts of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19—testing and isolating the exposed to prevent the further spread of the disease—but also become the first point of reference for care. For example, the CDC has deployed about 25 percent fewer staff during the COVID-19 pandemic relative to the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.Seher Odabaşı, a contact tracer working for the Kadıköy district health ministry, swabs a woman in Istanbul as part of a COVID-19 test.But even in a country where fighting infectious diseases has long been a national priority, the COVID-19 pandemic has required additional tactics.In the beginning, the Turkish government set up a scientific committee of clinical doctors and infectious disease specialists to advise the Ministry of Health.“This science committee published national guides for hospitals, for passengers in the planes, and for morgues,” says Neslihan Uyar, the head of the Kadıköy District Health Ministry. But the woman wasn’t at home.Seher Odabaşı and her colleagues track down possible COVID-19 patients as part of the Turkish Health Ministry’s contact tracing effort in Kadıköy, Istanbul.“You shouldn’t go to the market!” exclaimed Odabaşı when she finally reached the woman by phone. And early in the summer, the committee’s recommendation not to “normalize,” or reopen, on June 1 was disregarded, and much of the country resumed business on that date.(Related: Hagia Sophia stripped of museum status, paving its return to a mosque.)“The ministry doesn’t like us, the public health specialists, because we speak the truth,” says Dedeoğlu.For now, Turkey’s contact tracers continue to work diligently, often without much appreciation for their role, as the cases in the country creep up.

As said here by Katie Nadworny