Advances in Metropolitan Health – Gözde Yener Birman

The biggest goal of the public health department is to make Izmir a healthy and happy city.

Following the October 30 earthquake, as a result of Mayor Tun Sawyer’s foresight to establish a community health department and a global epidemic, the metropolitan municipality, which moved into the management of the Izmir Crisis Municipality, began providing protective and supportive health services. Establishment of a science board with this practice, which has no precedent in our country.

Dr. brought to the Department of Public Health. Sertaç Dölek and his valuable team have been working tirelessly for 2 years. I wanted to get to know you more about this inspiring new structure. At Sevinç Patisserie Talks, I say ‘Health First’ and congratulate the medical staff on the occasion of this meaningful interview.

First of all, we want to get acquainted with you …

Being the child of a prosecutor’s father and a teacher’s mother means living in different cities of Anatolia. I was born in Balikesi, I started living in Izmir when I was 7 years old. I graduated from BAL 77 and Ege Medicine 83. I was planning to retire after 30 years of service at Eşrefpaşa Hospital, where I arrived in 1988 after compulsory service and military service.

Do we have public health departments in other provinces of our country? What was the purpose of meeting Izmir?

Tunç Soyer gave me the task, “We must establish a department that prioritizes public health” and it came into effect in 2019. While preparing for the disaster and emergency health plan in the quake-hit city of Izmir, we were faced with an unexpected situation like the one around the world, the Covid-19 …

So, what kind of work did you do during the epidemic?

This global pandemic and the earthquake we felt on October 30 prove how accurate the Tunisian president’s foresight was in establishing the Department of Community Health. After the World Health Organization declared Kovid-19 a global epidemic on March 11, 2020, he moved to the management of Izmir Crisis Municipality. With this practice, which has no precedent in Turkey, we immediately formed a science board and began providing preventive and supportive health services. If you think that in the early days of Kovid-19, even the doctors and health workers did not find the mask, let alone the public. We have quickly found a solution to this problem in our country. On March 21st, we started making an average of 2,000 masks per day in a professional factory with the efforts of 6 sewing machines and trainers. We have distributed it in family health centers and municipal units. Not long after, the people of Izmir got their masks for free through the patriarchs. During this difficult process, we have helped physicians and healthcare professionals by providing personal protective equipment, hosting their accommodation facilities, providing morale refreshments, free transportation and parking services. We have planned closed areas that will be used once the field hospital is established.

What has been done so far?

We have focused on the study of health education. We have provided reliable information from the World Health Organization, the Turkish Medical Association, and the Expert Association to the people of Izmir from the right sources. We distributed our prepared booklets and brochures and hung posters. Within the scope of the Orange Circle, we have prepared and distributed booklets outlining the precautions to be taken in the housing, food and beverage business and participating in their inspections. While drawing our roadmap, we took Phase VII of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network as a guide.

What are your goals?

Our goal; Healthy person, healthy Izmir, reach a healthy world. When we say healthy people, our target audience is all Izmir residents, but our priority is the disadvantaged group; Our old people, our children, our youth, our women, our people living in our countryside and in the back quarters. We are working to make Izmir a city where healthy and happy people live.

We run our business with two departments. Our Community Health and Education Branch Directorate provides active life through general health, communicable and non-communicable diseases, mental health, oral and dental health, first aid, health in disasters and emergencies, healthy, safe production and use, directly and remotely. Multi-learning; She conducts health literacy-SOY research on physical activity and healthy eating.

I see that you have established an effective service network for our seniors …

Our Department of Healthy Aging and Home Care strives to improve the quality of life of elderly people in Izmir and provides home care services. To protect the health of our seniors, our Healthy Aging and Solidarity Center and our Meeting Solidarity Center for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients and their families are closed, we reach out to them through a distance multi-learning approach. This global epidemic has already shown us how important education is on digital networks, an important communication tool today. We are glad that this prediction was correct. Our Distance Multi-Learning in Community Health (UCE) project won the Healthy Life Award in the 2021 Healthy Cities Best Practice competition. A year ago, we were protecting our mental health from the epidemic; He won the Healthy Life Award for his book Talking About the New Coronavirus, Preventive Mental Health Booklet and Psychological Support Line at the Tunç Soyer 2020 Healthy Cities Best Practices Contest. Our current goal is to expand our projects, to realize what we have postponed due to Covid-19. We have a lot of work to do, keep running.

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