Pediatric allergy and immunology in Turkey.
Allergic diseases constitute a significant health problem in Turkey. According to a recent multicenter study, which used the ISAAC questionnaire, the mean prevalence of wheezing, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema in 10-yr-old school children during the past year was 15.8%, 23.5%, and 8.1%, respectively. A healthcare level system, regulated by Ministry of Health, is available in Turkey. Pediatric allergists and pediatric immunologists provide patient care at the tertiary level. Currently, 48 centers deliver care for allergic and immunologic diseases in children. There are 136 pediatric and 61 adult allergists/immunologists. Although the number of allergy/clinical immunology specialists is limited, these centers are capable of delivering many of the procedures required for the proper management and diagnosis of allergy/immunology. Pediatric allergy and/or immunology is a subspecialty lasting 3 yr and follows a 4-yr pediatric specialist training. Fellow training involves gaining knowledge in basic and clinical allergy and immunology as well as the performance and interpretation of laboratory procedures in the field of allergy and clinical immunology. The Turkish National Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (TNSACI) was officially established in 1989 and currently has 356 members. The society organizes a national congress annually and winter schools for fellowship training as well as training courses for patients and their relatives. TNSACI also has a strong representation in European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) and European Society for Immunodeficiencies (ESID) through its participation in the executive committee, consensus reports, and initiatives in the diagnosis of allergic and immunologic diseases of children. The 30th Congress of the EAACI is also due to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, between June 11 and 15, 2011.
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