Why are we there?

  • Healthcare exclusion

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Our work

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

2012

In 2011, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams in Turkey provided mental health support to migrants in Istanbul and survivors of the earthquakes in Van.

Undocumented migrants

Undocumented migrants have no access to health services in Turkey. In June 2011, MSF signed a partnership agreement with a Turkish non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, to provide assistance to undocumented migrants living in Istanbul.

Teams provide aid to the most vulnerable, including women, children and the elderly, in 10 of Istanbul’s municipalities.

The majority of patients have been through traumatic events and are now facing problems relating to integrating in a new environment.

Psychologists provided mental health support, while community health workers and interpreters assisted the clinical team and conducted outreach with the migrant communities, community organisations and Turkish health facilities. Almost 940 group counselling sessions were held in 2011.

MSF teams distributed 2,000 winterised tents to people living in Van and Ercis, the cities most affected by the quake.

MSF teams distributed 2,000 winterised tents to people living in Van and Ercis, the cities most affected by the quake. © MSF

Earthquake response

The two earthquakes that struck eastern Turkey in October and November killed at least 500 people and injured 2,500.

An MSF team in Van worked with local authorities and two Turkish NGOs, Hayata Destek and the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, distributing 2,000 winter tents and 2,000 cooking kits to 12,000 people in 37 villages in Van.

MSF started a two-month psychological support programme in 31 villages in December. By the end of the programme, 3,470 women and 1,850 men had benefited from group sessions, and 53 people received individual counselling.

Patients in a more serious condition were referred to Van hospital.

At the end of 2012, MSF had 35 staff in Turkey. MSF first worked in the country in 1999.