European Region High Level Meeting on Migration and Health held in Istanbul


The ‘European Region Migration and Health High Level Meeting’ organized in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health was held in Istanbul. A video message sent by President Erdogan was shared at the meeting.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined the meeting by sending a video message. In his message, Erdogan noted that the damage caused by the epidemic, especially in fragile parts of society, was “extremely serious” and said, “Undoubtedly, refugees and irregular migrants who have had to leave their country come first. Refugees, who are already trying to survive in difficult conditions in the country they have moved to, have been pushed further into the background, marginalized and even discriminated against due to epidemics.

“We make sure that the refugees we host have access to health services without exception.”

President Erdoয়an stressed that Turkey does not hesitate to share all its benefits while providing first-class healthcare to its citizens at a time when humanity and human values ​​are being put to the test. Erdogan went on to say that in the most painful days of the epidemic, they have provided medical equipment and critical material assistance to 160 countries and 12 international organizations requested by Turkey:

“We have ensured that everyone, without exception, has access to healthcare, without separating the refugees we host in our country from our own citizens. From day one, we have sensitively applied the principle of ‘no one is left behind’ declared by the United Nations.

“We hope that inequalities in the global system will be eliminated as soon as possible.”

Revealing that the epidemic has once again exposed injustice and distortion in the global system, Erdogan said: “We hope that inequalities in the global system, especially in the areas of health and security, will be eliminated as soon as possible. I value the work of the WHO’s new action plan on migration and health in the European region. I hope that your meeting, held in an environment where 3 million people joined 85 million refugees in just 3 weeks, will pave the way for new ideas and new solutions. “

“185 Migrant Health Centers Launched in 29 Provinces”

Health Minister Dr. Fahretin Koka expressed satisfaction that the meeting was held in Turkey, the country that hosts the largest number of refugees, according to the United Nations.

Minister Koka stressed that since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, Turkey has provided health services to its Syrian guests within this framework without any discrimination in the quality and services it provides to its citizens and conveys the following information:

“185 migrant health centers have been set up in 29 provinces to increase access to basic health services. In these migrant health centers, about 4,000 Syrian health workers, including 787 doctors, 34 dentists and 1149 nurses who had to migrate to our country, have been recruited after the necessary adaptation training. Immediate health services are provided outside the immigrant health center if secondary or tertiary health services are required. In this context, an estimated 97 million outpatients have been provided to Syrians, and more than 3 million inpatient medical services have been provided. In addition to inpatient medical services, 2.6 million surgeries have been performed and 754,000 Syrian babies have been born in our health facilities. “

“Simple solutions to common problems are needed”

Mentioning that at a time when the world has become a huge village and distances have lost their meaning, everyone has a common destiny in this regard, Coca said, “So this is a problem for all of us. Common problems need common solutions. Today, by some countries. Carrying this burden is a conscientious burden for all of us, for all humanity, “he said.

“I have no doubt that we will develop an action plan with more specific goals.”

Explaining that they attach great importance to a consistent approach and action plans in implementing health policies, Coca said, “We can say that the 2016-2022 Strategy and Action Plan, which refers to the health of migrants in the European region, was an important guide in this regard. Because of this, I have no doubt that with the outcome of the 2-day meeting we are having here, we will develop an action plan that combines stronger and more specific goals for the future. “

A press conference was held as part of the concluding session of the meeting.

Speaking here, Minister Koka explained that they had two days of fruitful discussions on migration and health with the participation of senior representatives from 55 countries and 10 international organizations at the Vice-Chairman level of the EU Commission.

Noting that migration and its effects on people are as old as human history, Koka emphasized that the problem of migration cannot be a single country or region, and said:

“As simple as the problem is, the solution lies in sharing a common mind and a common sense of fairness. For this reason, we attach great importance to cooperation in our work in the field of health. As you know, Turkey has seen an influx of immigrants over the centuries due to its geographical location as well as its culture of acceptance, which allows foreigners to be adopted by society. Our country, which has embraced the victims, has not witnessed the events that have taken place right next to it since 2011. “

Minister Koka explained that following the “open door policy”, Syrians were given “temporary protection” status and were given the opportunity to benefit from basic services such as health and education.

“Sihat project has become a leading project in the field of immigration health”

Emphasizing the importance of the projects they manage with the technical support of the WHO and the Sihat project, which are funded by the European Union, Koka said, Has been strengthened through financial support. The Sihat project, the second phase of which we are currently successfully managing, is an influential project in the field of migration health and has achieved many benefits.

Help Ukraine

Referring to what has been done to meet the health needs of families from Ukraine, Koka said, “I want to say that Turkey shows its compassion and moral authority to everyone regardless of their passport. I would like to say that this service will continue to be the same in Ukraine when needed, “he said.

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