Turkey to build migrant health centers with Syrian staff

Turkey to build migrant health centers with Syrian staff

Meltem Özgenç – ANKARA
Turkey to build migrant health centers with Syrian staff


Turkey’s Health Ministry is planning to build migrant health centers staffed with only Syrian medical professionals across a number of provinces that host a refugee population above 20,000. 

Ministry of Health Undersecretary Professor Eyüp Gümüş has told daily Hürriyet that already-existing family health centers and hospitals had been originally built to meet the needs of the existing population, explaining that the wave of refugees from war-torn Syria over the past few years has rendered the facilities inadequate. 

“There are as many Syrians as local residents in Kilis. We are aware of this problem, especially in provinces including Kilis, Antep, Maraş and Urfa,” Gümüş said. It is for this population swell that “migrant health centers” are necessary in cities where the migrant population is over 20,000, he added.

“According to initial plans, over 40 centers will be built. Only those patients referred from these facilities will be admitted to hospitals,” he explained, underlining the aim was to reduce the number of patients in state hospitals.

Gümüş remarked that the ministry considers building smaller hospitals tasked solely with providing healthcare to migrants as a next step. 

The outlined plan oversees the employment of Syrian doctors and nurses in the facilities. 

“We are assessing the competence of some 550 Syrian doctors and 300 Syrian nurses to be employed in these centers and hospitals,” the undersecretary said, stressing Arabic language skills were important and necessary for the staff. 

Work permit for readmitted migrants

In line with efforts to meet the needs of Syrian migrants, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has met another demand by the EU Commission as part of the migrant deal struck between the Union and Turkey, and completed a legal arrangement to issue work permits to all readmitted migrants.

Turkey announced its decision to grant work permits to Syrian refugees on its official gazette on Jan. 15, in a key move allowing over 2.2 million Syrian to lead more stable and prosperous lives in the country. 

According to the existing legislation, Syrians are able to apply for a work permit six months after obtaining temporary protection status. 

The new arrangement, which was announced on the official gazette on April 26, extends this right to migrants from all nationalities in order to serve the needs of the migrants who are sent to Turkey from Greece as part of the deal. 

Reports from daily Habertürk indicate some 254,000 migrants will be able to obtain a work permit with the new arrangement. It will also be prohibited to pay migrants with work permits below the minimum wage.