Syria crisis: Mobile clinic for war injured on Syrian-Turkish border
Malteser International widens emergency medical relief
Cologne. An in-patient mobile clinic for Syrians injured in war and refugees is being set up just 5 kilometers from the Syrian border in the Turkish city of Kilis. Malteser International, the Order of Malta’s humanitarian relief agency, is coordinating the project. The mobile clinic will be located near the grounds of Kilis’ public hospital, which is the first stop for many of the injured coming in from northern Syria.
“Because of the constant inflow of refugees, the health facilities in Kilis are operating at full capacity – they urgently need support with the medical care of the refugees. On the other side of the border, the situation is even more critical: the health infrastructure is totally overstretched,” says emergency relief coordinator Oliver Hochedez. “Those fleeing the country are exhausted and often sick from the long journey; many are injured because of warfare.”
The 24-bed mobile clinic will be made up of containers and will also count on a psychosocial support unit for traumatized patients. “Many refugees are suffering psychologically from the effects of the protracted civil war, which can lead to chronic post-traumatic stress disorder and psychosomatic illnesses,” Hochedez adds.
Malteser International will also train and qualify Syrian staff in the areas of psycho-social care, conflict transformation and peace education. “The middle to long-term goal is to be able to transfer the clinic to Syria, so we can contribute to the rehabilitation of the destroyed medical infrastructure there,” explains Hochedez.
The €1.7 million project is being supported by two different German government agencies. The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will fund the mobile unit’s equipment, the medical personnel and the measures to strengthen the local structures, while the German Foreign Office supports the provision of medication and the mobile clinic’s running costs. The project’s implementation is done in cooperation with the Turkish partner organization IBC (International Blue Crescent).
Malteser International has been active in Syria, Turkey and Lebanon since August 2012, providing emergency aid for more than 30,000 people. Until the end of June, the organization’s local partners will continue to distribute food packages and baby food inside Syria and in the border regions.