migrants were living in Turkey in 2016
Over the last 15 years, Turkey has become a significant waypoint for migrants trying to reach Europe. Mainly from Syria but also from Afghanistan, Iran or Africa, they travel through the country in their thousands. In 2016, the number of migrants living in Turkey was estimated at over 3 million, of which 2,800,000 were Syrian. For them, « living here » is synonymous with insecurity, economic and social instability, with no freedom of movement and no rights.
We estimate that there are over 5 million migrants living in Turkey.
These foreigners, whether they are asylum seekers, refugees or undocumented migrants, are only seen in public health centres upon presentation of a passport and on condition that they can pay for their consultations. Consequently many of them do not obtain treatement, or delay seeking treatment until the moment of crisis, only to turn up at hospital emergency departments, where access is, in theory, free of charge.
> Doctors of the World entrusts the implementation of all its activities to its operational partner, Dunya Doktorlari Dernegi.
In order to meet the healthcare needs of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa in Istanbul, a socio-medical centre has been established at the heart of Kumkapi district, with the support of the Turkish Solidarity and Mutual Assistance for Migrants Association (ASEM) which denounces the impossibility of access to healthcare for migrants in Turkey. This centre functions as a « landmark » for the migrants where they find a sympathetic ear (three members of the team are themselves migrants), opportunities for guidance and support regarding hospital services, as well as information on their rights. Administrative advice is provided to migrants wishing to register themselves in the country. Awareness sessions on themes such as STIs, Aids, Tuberculosis and people smugglers are organised there, as well as days dedicated to targetted audiences such as women.
Since 2014, support has been provided to the Doctors World Wide – Turkey organisation, which, helps vulnerable populations closest to the migratory routes through fixed and mobile health facilities. Thus, its primary, sexual and reproductive healthcare and psychosocial support activities have been strengthened in the South East of the country as well as in Istanbul and Izmir. Migrants now have access to health education sessions and to referral to medical facilities.
Support is also provided to the health services at the post-operative care centre at Reyhanli, on the Turkish Syrian border, through the partner organisation: Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM in its French acronym) .
Did you know?
Owing to its geographic and economic situation, Istanbul currently has a large population of foreigners who are in a vulnerable state. They tend to stay, sometimes for months, or even years.
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