Why are we there?

  • Healthcare exclusion

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Background 2013

This is an extract from our latest Activity Report, looking back on our work in the previous year.

Over half a million Syrian war refugees were living in Turkey by the end of 2013.

The poor living conditions and lack of access to medical care endured by many predominantly Syrian refugees in Turkey remain concerning, and this year Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) launched several humanitarian interventions to deliver assistance to those in need.

Many Syrians have settled in the southern province of Kilis, along the Syrian–Turkish border.

Mental health in Kilis

The NGO Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly (HCA), in collaboration with MSF, is running a clinic in Kilis aimed at providing quality healthcare, including mental health services, to this vulnerable population.

The main goal of the mental health activities in Kilis is to help refugees cope and adjust to their new situation, regardless of whether they live inside or outside the camps.

Unregistered refugees are a priority for MSF since they live outside of the camps and may not have access to services or aid distribution

Healthcare exclusion

A health needs assessment conducted by MSF among migrants revealed no access to healthcare, as well as financial barriers and poor living conditions.

The response by humanitarian organisations was found to be inadequate. MSF provided support to an HCA psychosocial project assisting mixed migrant communities in Istanbul.

Turkish psychologists, community health workers and interpreters supported referral activities in 10 municipalities.

The project was closed at the end of the year, as MSF decided to focus its interventions on Syrian refugees in Turkey.

At the end of 2013, MSF had 29 staff in Turkey. MSF first worked in the country in 1999.