A new Turkish liver patient group was set up in Istanbul on 14th November 2008, under the name of Türk Karaciðer Hastalarý Yardýmlaþma Grubu Baþkaný. Mr. Nevzat Gökmen is the head of the new group. MD Muzaffer Gürakar of the Turkish Liver Foundation initiated the founding process and will support the group with scientific knowledge. The steering committee of ELPA attended the foundation ceremony, which took place at the University Club in Istanbul. “It is important for liver patients to have a voice”, said Nadine Piorkowsky, president of ELPA. “Therefore, ELPA is very pleased to see that a group for liver patients has been founded in Turkey.”
Mr Nevzat Gökmen, head of the newly founded Turkish group (front row, 3rd from the left) and MD Muzaffer Gürakar (right), together with doctors and members of the ELPA steering committee.
ELPA wishes to thank Mr MD Muzaffer Gürakar and Mr. Nevzat Gökmen for the kind invitation.
The idea of a Turkish patient association was born in the summer of 2007: MD Gürakar met with Achim Kautz of Deutsche Leberhilfe, a member association of ELPA, to discuss a cooperation between Germany and Turkey. Turkish citizens are the largest immigrant population in Germany. MD Gürakar and Kautz discussed how to reach immigrants with liver diseases without stigmatizing them. They agreed that both countries should work closely together. As health and religion are very closely connected in Turkey, MD Gürakar and Leberhilfe wrote a letter to the Turkish Minister of Religious Affairs to ask for his support. Thanks to the Minister’s help, a project in Germany was started: Imams in mosques all over Germany joined World Hepatitis Day 2008 and alerted their communities about the importance of hepatitis B vaccination, screening, and treatment.
Nadine Piorkowsky (ELPA) and MD Muzaffer Gürakar
Turkish newspaper Hürriyet reports about the new patient group
ELPA is looking forward to a future cooperation with the Turkish patient group. As Turkish people are a large migrant group in many European and Mediterranean countries, bilateral migrant projects as between Leberhilfe and Turkey might also be carried out in other ELPA countries.