Turkish Field Hospital: Construction and Coordination of Healthcare Services
Disaster and Emergency Management Authority of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Turkey.
Serra DİPTAŞ, Head of Foreign Affairs Working Group
Alânur YAZICI, Foreign Affairs Working Group
The project in brief
- Disaster and Emergency Management Authority of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Turkey
- Foreign Affairs Working Group
Cox’s Bazaar (Kutupalong Refugee Camp), Bangladesh.
In the last quarter of 2017, construction of the field hospital started. It was officially opened in January 2018.
This project aims to give Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh access to the healthcare they need.
The equipment regarding the construction was rented from Dhaka, and the field hospital was delivered to the region via cargo airplanes. Turkish Ministry of Health has been contributing to the field hospital by assigning doctors and medical personnel as well as medical equipment.
- Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health
- TIKA (Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency)
In reference to the other humanitarian aid clusters, the biggest partners of AFAD that contribute to burden and responsibility sharing are:
- Turkish Red Crescent
- Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency
- Turkish Diyanet Foundation
Challenges and how they were overcome
- One of the biggest challenges was obtaining long-term work permits for Turkish doctors to be able to work in the hospital. The permits are valid for a short time - just three months - so needed to be renewed often.
- The area that was made available to build the field hospital was forestland, which is a challenging terrain for building activities. The ground had to be stabilised before initiating the construction process and the swamp in the area was drained.
- Trust was another challenge while the field hospital was initially constructed. We also had to undertake sensitisation activities to encourage Rohingya refugees to visit the hospital and reassure them of the presence of Muslim doctors in the hospital.
- Electricity for the field hospital is provided by generators, which always poses risks. If they were to shutdown, operations and the healthcare services would be damaged.
- The nearest dialysis centre is far from the camp, 600 km, which may endanger lives.
- The field hospital works at full capacity. In a region where the total population is 1,000,000 people, the Turkish field hospital is the only hospital to offer secondary healthcare services.
- It is also noteworthy that the Bangladesh Government works in cooperation in various fields with AFAD and Turkish Ministry of Health. This cooperation is absolutely critical to deliver life-saving assistance to refugees.
- AFAD has been sustaining the needs of Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazaar in different humanitarian aid clusters such as food, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene. Further collaboration and cooperation from across the world would facilitate humanitarian aid operations.
- The operations carried out since August 2017 costs approximately $5,000,000. Between 2012 and 2017, AFAD also contributed 23,500,000 TL for the humanitarian aid operations in region. These costs were covered in their entirety by AFAD.
How they were overcome
- AFAD and Ministry of Health have been working co-operatively in the region, particularly on the field hospital.
- Where there were a considerable number of issues, AFAD created solutions, found different ways by itself with its solution-focused approach and made the most effort to do its best to mitigate the humanitarian crisis. The fact that AFAD works round the clock, and at full capacity demonstrates AFAD’s efforts to support Bangladesh with the presence of Rohingya refugees. Diplomatic channels are also utilized during the process.
- The electricity problem was attempted to be solved by providing a backup generator, in case of a shutdown. However, this solution will not be sufficient. We propose that an electricity infrastructure be constructed in order to have continuous electricity.
- A dialysis centre is planned to be constructed in the area, with the cooperation of the Bangladesh Government.
- The trust issue between the field hospital officials was solved through the efforts of the field officers. Mosques announced that the personnel of the field hospital are Muslims, and the hospital has a religious-respected approach and therefore is safe to visit.
- The field hospital is made of tents and bamboo, however, due to the unfavourable weather conditions of the region, a concrete building is needed for the ease and sustainability of the services.
Results of the Good Practice
The field hospital enabled refugees and the host community to access healthcare. This is a fundamental right.
Refugees and the local population were provided with medical examinations and medicine free of charge.
More than 1,000 patients access medical treatment daily.
Currently, thanks to the field hospital, 33 local people have been employed, including three doctors. The combined salaries of these personnel cost $11,150 a month.
Nine doctors and 18 additional personnel are assigned by the Turkish Ministry of Health.
Existing polyclinics are: general surgery, orthopedics, gynaecology, ER, pediatrics, internal diseases, triage. The inpatients and the hospital personnel are given hot meal.
As of August 2019, in the field hospital so far, there have been 9,878 inpatients, 136 Births, 8,365 radiology reports, 2,187 surgeries, 17,728 laboratory reports, 552 circumcise operations, and 49,046 other medical operations (injection, medical dressing, etc.).
At present, inpatient bed availability is 50, but the ambition is to increase the number of beds, if the required permissions are given . AFAD puts a notable effort on developing the field hospital, maximizing the number of the patients reached. The legal permissions and grants for the equipment would better help the conditions of the hospital.