Over 2.5 million Syrians had sought refuge in Turkey by the end of 2015.
The situation for Syrian refugees living in Turkey remains extremely difficult: the vast majority are living in poor conditions in urban slums, with few work opportunities and limited access to medical care. Since the Syrian conflict started in 2011, more than 67,000 Syrian children have been born in Turkey.
In June, MSF was granted authorisation by the Turkish authorities to carry out medical and humanitarian activities for the growing number of refugees in the country.
Working on the Syrian-Turkish border
In Hatay, in collaboration with the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (known by its French acronym, UOSSM), MSF carries out reconstructive surgery missions. It also supports the mental health clinic run by the UOSSM.
In Kilis, MSF works with the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, whose clinic provides basic healthcare, including mental health services, to Syrian refugees. The clinic conducted 35,636 outpatient and 10,508 antenatal and postnatal consultations in 2015.
In late December, in partnership with Physicians Across Continents (PAC), MSF opened a new facility in Gaziantep offering free healthcare to Syrian women and children. A Syrian team of gynaecologists and midwives provides antenatal and postnatal care, family planning services and gynaecology consultations; PAC covers paediatric care. MSF had already treated 117 patients between the opening of the facility on 21 December and the end of the year. The clinic has the capacity to carry out 2,000 reproductive health consultations per month. Deliveries and more complicated cases are referred to a local Turkish hospital.
MSF continued to support partner organisation Hayata Destek (Support to Life) in the implementation of a mental healthcare programme for Syrian refugees. In May, a water and sanitation project was completed in Suruç, providing latrines, showers and water for refugees from Kobanê, Syria, who had been living in temporary camps since September 2014. From June to September in Akçakale, in collaboration with Hayata Destek, MSF distributed food and hygiene items to 20,000 refugees displaced from Tal Abyad in Syria. MSF also supported an International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation mental healthcare centre in Akçakale, treating Syrian refugees.