“It is much more important to bring health care services to the rural population rather than waiting for them to reach health care services”

unfpa-ruralThe first workshop of the “Improving Access of the Rural Refugees to Health and Protection Services in Turkey”a new project initiated by UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund Turkey Office with the financial support of the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) was held in Ankara on 1 February 2019.

The purpose of the “Improving Access of the Rural Refugees to Health and Protection Services in Turkey” projectplanned to be implemented in 5 selected provinces, is to ensure that the local and refugee communities living in the rural areas are physically, psychologically and socially in a complete state of well-being, to make these health services more accessible by everyone and improve the demand for these services.

With this new project, it is planned to bring primary health services with the health team consisting of physicians, nurses, social services experts and translators, to the refugees and their families living in the rural areas including seasonal agricultural workers and their families through mobile health vehicles.

Nazlı Moral Uydu, UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund, Humanitarian Program Manager, in her presentation for the introduction to the project, stated “We are aiming for bringing health services to those who are unable to reach health services otherwise by means of these mobile service vehicles thanks to this project developed for ensuring access of the local and refugee population in the rural to primary health services through mobile service units in five selected provinces in total in cooperation with UNFPA and the Ministry of Health“.

Dr. Murat Türkyılmaz from the Ministry of Health, General Directorate of Public Health, Head of the Department of Cancer and Department of Education representative said in his opening speech in the workshop that “We offer the same services to the refugee population affected by the crisis with those offered to our own citizens” and underlined the importance of bringing health services to the population living in the rural areas.

Prof. Dr. Zeynep Şimşek, an expert in studies on seasonal agricultural workers from BilgiUniversity, talked about the significance of the project: “Agriculture is a precondition for the continuity of life. If there is no agriculture, there is no industry, no development. Service providers need to change their behaviors to allow rural populations to reach health services for successful realization of this development. The rural population is in need of basic health information. It is necessary to bring preventive services to the rural to prevent common health problems.It is critically important to bring health care services to the rural population rather than waiting for them to reach these services”.

The workshop organized on 1 February 2019 was attended by some Departments of the General Directorate of Public Health, Departments of Migration Health, Public Health Services and Education, Contagious Diseases, Environmental Health and Provincial Directorates of Health Departments of Public Health from some provinces, Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services, European Union Delegation, European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), IOM Turkey, Kırkayak Culture Association, MDM (Médecins du Monde) Turkey, Development Atelier representatives and field specialist faculty members.