With an estimated four million refugees, Turkey hosts the largest number of migrants and refugees in the world.
Syrians constitute the largest proportion of refugees with about 3.6 million living across the country, while another 400,000 migrants from Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries have also sought asylum or migrated to Turkey.
The majority of migrants and refugees lives amongst host communities in urban and rural areas of Istanbul, Izmir and Hatay, the provinces having the highest number of Syrian refugees and migrants in the country.
Health needs are considerably high among the migrant and refugee populations, particularly among Syrians.
War-trauma compounded by the subsequent displacements and poor living conditions have led to increase Syrian refugees’ vulnerability to health risks. Many suffer from chronic diseases, physical injuries and/or impairments as well as from mental health and psychosocial issues.
According to DDD’s 2019 multi-sectoral needs assessment, 55% of the surveyed households have at least one member who regularly feel distressed, upset, sad, worried, scared, or angry.
The conflict and its subsequent displacements combined with poor living conditions in Turkey have had serious consequences on refugees’ psychological wellbeing, with a particularly adverse impact on women, elderly and children.
Migrants and refugees living in rural areas tend to face additional barriers and have little to no access to healthcare services due to distance, financial constraints and lack of information on available services.
DDD focuses on implementing activities that meet refugees and migrants’ most pressing needs by providing mental health and psychosocial support as well as primary health care (PHC) through Medical Mobile Units (MMUs) in İstanbul, İzmir and Hatay.
Through its MMUs in the rural areas of Bayraklı and Torbalı districts of Izmir and in Manisa, DDD provides PHC services, medical and SRH consultations, preventive screening sessions and supports referrals to its Izmir MHPSS Centre and PHC facilities.
In its Community Centre in Fatih (Istanbul) throughout 2020, DDD aimed at promoting the integration of Sub-Saharan African refugees, migrants and asylum seekers into the host population and the public health services. In accordance with this purpose, DDD provided awareness and health promotion group sessions, case management and orientation services as well as language classes and legal counselling.
Within the context of its Syria Programme, DDD ensures the provision of PHC, SRH and MHPSS services both to the displaced and host populations in Aleppo and Idlib governorates of Syria through direct implementation and implementing partners.
In 2018, DDD began operations in Turkish-controlled areas of northwest Syria (NWS). At the beginning of 2019, MDM-France handed over its North-West-Syria programming to DDD.
DDD and partners are now providing primary health care, sexual and reproductive health and MHPSS services across 17 Health facilities, and one BEmONC center, directly reaching more than half-a-million individuals in NWS Syria.