Syrian refugees in Turkey

As the health-sector leader for partners working in the northern Syrian Arab Republic and southern Turkey, WHO facilitates a variety of life-saving interventions. It works with national and international health partners to ensure that the Syrian refugees in Turkey have continuous access to equitable and lifesaving health services.

WHO field presence in Gaziantep

WHO established a field presence in Gaziantep in October 2013, and then scaled up its presence, capacity and activities. In southern Turkey, WHO focuses on critical functions, built around the WHO Emergency Response Framework: health coordination, information management, provision of technical expertise and core services. Its activities include: 

  • capacity development for Syrian medical staff; 
  • technical support for outbreak response and immunization campaigns; 
  • provision of life-saving equipment and drugs; and
  • development and dissemination of information materials for refugees. 

The WHO field presence in Gaziantep also supported and facilitated the response to recent outbreaks of poliomyelitis and measles in the northern Syrian Arab Republic. 

Supporting the Ministry of Health of Turkey

In close collaboration with the Ministry, WHO conducts needs and mapping assessments to improve Syrian refugees’ access to essential health services. Providing regular support and technical expertise, WHO also responds to immediate health issues to support the Ministry. For example, it organized a vaccination campaign in Suruç district following the influx of about 190 000 Syrian refugees.

Providing essential medicines and supplies

Coordinating the provision of essential medicines and medical supplies is critical in responding to emergencies. So far, WHO has procured 86 emergency kits – including interagency emergency health kits, supplementary units and surgical supplies – and prepared them for distribution in Gaziantep and Kilis, and Şanlıurfa and Hatay provinces. These will cover the primary health care needs of 140 000 people for three months and provide equipment to treat 300 emergency cases and conduct 3000 surgeries for injuries, including 10 days post-operative care. 

With other United Nations agencies, WHO organizes and conducts technical workshops on priority issues, such as mental health and psychosocial services.