Employment of bilingual Syrian patient guidance staff
The project in brief
Ministry of Health, Turkey
Almost 3 years
In 2016, in an attempt to alleviate problems arising from language and cultural barriers, the Turkish Ministry of Health started employing Syrian citizens under temporary protection as bilingual patient guidance staff in migrant health centres and hospitals. Such bilingual staff provided interpreting services to patients and helped them overcome the existing communication obstacles and increase their access to health services.
As of 30 June 2019, a total of 1,025 Bilingual Patient Guidance Staff have been employed.
- European Union
- World Health Organization
Challenges and how they were overcome
Challenge 1: Planning and conducting training
- Technical and financial support was provided in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Training materials were developed through workshops attended by all relevant stakeholders, namely the relevant technical departments of the Ministry of Health, Turkish health workers providing services to Syrian citizens, international organizations, Syrian health workers, and universities.
Challenge 2: Difficulties in obtaining work permits for prospective employees
- The Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) allowed some prospective employees to change their province of residence.
- The Directorate General of International Labour Force of the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services facilitated the process of granting work permits.
Challenge 3: Salaries for the bilingual patient guidance staff.
Solution: They were funded by the European Union.
Results of the Good Practice
- Reduced the negative effects of language and cultural barriers.
- Reduced the gap between the supply and demand for health care services.
- Enhanced the quality of health services provided.
- Improved access to health services for Syrian citizens under temporary protection.
- Ensured the presence of qualified staff able to provide guidance to patients in their native language.
Habibe Özdemir, Health Professional, Ministry of Health