Cross-border Health Services by the Turkish Ministry of Health
Submitted by: Habibe Özdemir, Health Professional, Ministry of Health, Republic of Turkey
Email: [email protected]
Introduction to the project
The Ministry of Health has contributed to the cross-border delivery of health services in Syria by repairing and furnishing 45 primary health care facilities and 6 hospitals, as well as providing 43 ambulances and patient care vehicles.
The Ministry of Health carries out many interventions in Syria with the aim of normalizing conditions in Turkey’s border regions, providing the necessary health services within the scope of humanitarian and technical assistance, and minimizing the transfer of patients from Syria to Turkey.
Main activities of the Good Practice
45 primary health care facilities were repaired and refurbished to provide and increase access to primary health care services. They provide primary examinations, immunizations and environmental health services. 10 additional health centers are planned to be opened.
In order to provide secondary health services, MoH has built three new hospitals across the Syrian border, with 200 beds each in Çobanbey and Elbab and with 75 beds in Mare. Three hospitals were renovated and made available for use in Azez (25 beds), Jarablus (70 beds) and Afrin (83 beds). Currently, the total capacity of the hospitals in the region is 653 beds. The renovation of the 200-bed Vatan Hospital in Azez has reached its final stage.
An Ambulance Radio Communication System has been established to manage patient referrals and to ensure that medical teams can respond to patients rapidly. The system currently operates between 43 Ambulances and 12 health units.
Coordination units have been established to support the planned cross-border health services effectively, within the bodies of Kilis, Gaziantep and Hatay Provincial Health Directorates, which are located at the border.
A Ministry Coordinator was assigned to assess the problems in the region on-site and to take action as soon as possible.
Challenges and how they were overcome
Challenge 1: Planning and coordination of services
Solution: Syrian Task Force Directorates have been established within the health directorates of border provinces. These directorates were able to cooperate with local administrations under the control of the Provincial Governorships, thus enabling the possibility of on-site planning and effective coordination.
Challenge 2: Personnel recruitment process
Solution: A protocol signed between the Ministry of Health and the Turkish Red Crescent provided the opportunity for employment.
Challenge 3: Difficulties in conducting services
Solution: Cooperation with local authorities, international organizations and NGOs has been developed and strengthened.
Results of the Good Practice
Syrians living across the border have increased access to health services.
The demand for health services provided in Turkey decreased in relative.
Syrian health workers are able to provide services in the region.
Health professionals are provided with the opportunity to do professional internships in these health facilities.