Inauguration of Refugee Health Training Centre in Turkey


The Refugee Health Training Centre in Ankara provides health care to Syrian patients taking account of their cultural and linguistic needs

On 2 May 2017, Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe inaugurated the Refugee Health Training Centre in Ankara during her three-day visit to Turkey. Due to the current Syrian conflict, Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world. The Refugee Health Training Centre is part of Turkey’s health response to this situation.

The Centre links culture and health – providing health care by taking into account the cultural and linguistic needs of patients. It uses an innovative solution to the challenge of large population movements – Syrian doctors and nurses in Turkey are empowered and integrated in the National Health System.

The Turkish Ministry of Health has begun the process of establishing refugee health centres in all provinces with refugees. The plan is to open 260 centres across Turkey, with 600 refugee health units, each staffed with one doctor and one nurse to treat Syrian patients under the supervision of provincial public health directorates.

The WHO Regional Office for Europe is working closely with the Ministry on this initiative. Before Syrian health professionals can work in the centres, they must follow a training programme offered by the Ministry with WHO support, in order to qualify them and obtain work permits. About 220 doctors and 180 nurses had been successfully trained by the end of March this year.

WHO also provides medical supplies and equipment, as well as covering operating costs, thanks to financial support from the European Commission – Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO); the United States’ Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM); and the Government of Norway.

During her visit to Turkey, Dr Jakab also signed a host agreement to establish a new WHO Office for Humanitarian and Health Emergencies Preparedness in Istanbul, Turkey, together with Professor Recep Akdağ, Minister of Health of Turkey.