Migrant Health Centers
Submitted by: Habibe Özdemir, Health Professional, Turkish Ministry of Health, Republic of Turkey
Email: [email protected]
Introduction to the project
Almost three years
During second half of 2016, the Turkish Ministry of Health decided to establish Migrant Health Centres (MHC) in cities most densely populated by Syrians. The centres were established in accordance with the practice of family medicine in Turkey.
Primary health care services are provided in Migrant Health Centres in order to improve migrant health services in Turkey.
Migrant Health Centres are becoming more and more common in the framework of the European Union funding provided within the scope of “The Project for Improving the Health Status of the Syrian Population under Temporary Protection and Health Related Services offered by the Republic of Turkey (SIHHAT)”.
As of 30 June 2019, there are 183 Migrant Health Centres operating in 29 provinces of Turkey.
Main activities of the Good Practice
- Primary diagnosis and treatment
- Pregnancy and Puerperal Monitoring
- Baby and Child Monitoring
- Micronutrient support (Iron and Vitamin D)
- Cancer screening (cervical cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer screenings are carried out on the target groups and supported by mobile services)
- Reproductive health
- Psycho-social support
- Health education
Challenges and how they were overcome
Challenge 1: Lack of appropriate public buildings to be considered as MHCs in areas densely populated by Syrians under temporary protection.
Solution: The Turkish Ministry of Health tried to overcome the problem by renting appropriate premises where there was no public property available.
Challenge 2: Limited mobility of some Syrian under temporary protection and migrants.
Solution: A mechanism was created to quickly open new MHCs by increasing the intra- and inter-institutional cooperation.
Challenge 3: Need by Syrians under temporary protection and migrants for hospitals and specialist physicians.
Solution: Strengthened Migrant Health Centres were opened as close as possible to Temporary Accommodation Centres.
The concept of Strengthened Migrant Health Centre (Strengthened MHCs) was developed by the Turkish Ministry of Health. In broad terms, Strengthened MHCs are established in temporary accommodation centres hosting relatively high migrant populations (more than 20.000 Syrians) and are located far away from a full-fledged public hospital. Strengthened MHCs offer internal medicine, paediatric health, gynaecology, oral and dental health and psychosocial support services as well as primary health care services. Moreover, these health services are supported by imaging units and basic service laboratories units in order to increase access to services and to reduce the burden on hospitals.
Awareness-raising on the available health services was carried out (including development and production of posters, brochures, public training). In this context, some 20,500,000 posters and brochures were distributed.
Results of the Good Practice
- Improved access to health services for Syrian citizens under temporary protection.
- Alleviated the problems of access to service stemming from language and cultural barriers.
- Increased the demand for primary preventive and curative health services based on the public health perspective rather than on the migrant health perspective.
- Relatively decreased the demand for services provided by secondary and tertiary health care institutions through the timely interventions of primary health care services.