Turkey: overcoming language barriers in health care for Syrian refugees
Access basic health care is one of the major concerns of the over 3 million refugees in Turkey. While emergency hospital treatment in Turkey is free of charge, many Syrian and refugees are reluctant to use these facilities due to language and cultural barriers. Many local health facilities are also struggling to cope with the influx of refugee patients. The EU and other donors are addressing this issue by providing financial support to primary or migrant health centres which have been set up by local and international NGOs.
Among the refugees, many Syrian health professionals have also been able to find employment in these health centers; this is much appreciated by the refugees who feel more comfortable being treated by Arab speaking doctors and nurses. The EU has also promoted the employment of Syrian medical personnel through a training program carried by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This training allows Syrian doctors to understand the rules and regulations governing the medical profession in Turkey and allows them to defer their patients to Turkish health facilities correctly and effectively.
With funding of €12 million from the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey, WHO has already trained over a thousand Syrian doctors, nurses and translators, providing a vital service to the refugee community.
ABOUT ECHO: European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
The European Commission aims to save and preserve life, prevent and alleviate human suffering and safeguard the integrity and dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. EU assistance, amounting to one of the world's largest, is enshrined in the Treaty of Lisbon and supported by EU citizens an as expression of European solidarity with any person or people in need.
Headquartered in Brussels with a global network of field offices, the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) ensures rapid and effective delivery of EU relief assistance through its two main instruments: humanitarian aid and civil protection. By bringing together the two under one roof in 2010, the Commission has built up a more robust and effective European mechanism for disaster response both inside and outside the EU.
Since November 2014, ECHO operates under the mandate of Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.
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