Health professionals in quake zone experience housing problems: Survey

Health professionals in quake zone experience housing problems: Survey

Health professionals in quake zone experience housing problems: Survey

Health professionals in the earthquake zone still experience serious housing problems, as 80 percent of them are unable to find a place of their own, reveals a survey conducted by the Turkish Medical Association (TTB).

The twin earthquakes that jolted the country’s south in early February have rendered thousands of survivors homeless, while members of some professions have to stay in the quake zone to provide services to quake survivors.

While healthcare professionals struggle to provide adequate health services on the one hand, they are also dealing with grave housing problems on the other hand.

TTB’s latest survey conducted with health professionals in the quake zone revealed that 80 percent of them are still not able to stay at a permanent settlement.

Some of the participants, including doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, stated that they sleep in their cars or moved to the houses of their relatives or friends.

Some health professionals also stated that the family health centers where they worked were severely damaged, but they continued treatment despite the risk.

According to the survey, more than half of the health professionals in the earthquake-hit provinces stated they need psychological support.

However, only 1 percent of them can access this support.

Meanwhile, another study conducted by the Turkish Psychiatric Association said that the biggest problem of 84 percent of the physicians in the quake-affected areas is accommodation.

Even though a considerable number of people left the quake-hit provinces, both physical and mental health complaints increased, stated Sarper Yılmaz, an official from Turkish Emergency Medicine Association.

“Despite the decrease in the population of the quake-hit cities, applications are proportionally high. Considering the damages that hospitals received in the quakes, it is very difficult for us to still be able to provide health care here with the old capacity,” Yılmaz stated.

Noting that some of the health workers in the earthquake zone are trying to find temporary housing solutions, Yılmaz underlined that the basic problems of the personnel, specifically those working in the emergency services, should be solved.

“For instance, the family of an emergency medicine specialist moved to [the northern province of] Ordu after the quake. He bought a caravan and set it in the garden of the hospital in the quake zone. He visits his family every two weeks.”

“There are many such examples. Five people have to sleep in one container,” he added.