Dead body of a small child washed ashore… then another one, and then…
Hundreds of thousands of people are on paths of migration, fleeing wars, clashes, threat of hunger and death, trying to survive…
The geography that Turkey is a part of turned into a region where being refugee is considered as a routine event…. Millions of people have fled their countries… And it continues day by day…
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warns that the world is entering a new era of displacement of people.
According to UNHCR’s Global Trends Report:
· Within the last five years at least 15 armed conflicts broke out or resurged in different parts of the world
· In 2014, each day 42,500 people on average turned out as refugee, asylum seeker or internally displaced
· In 2014, only 126,800 refugees were able to return back to their countries, which is the lowest figure for the last 30 years
The crisis in Syria is shaking the whole world as the country moves from conflicts to full-fledged civil war. According to data provided by WHO, there are 12.5 million people in need of urgent humanitarian aid; 7.6 million people were internally displaced, and 4 million have fled the country now in other countries as refugees.
As the worst refugee crisis experienced since the World War Two this situation is of close interest to physicians in terms of health service delivery. In both Turkey and in European countries where refugees are trying to reach, they face serious problems in access to health services. Many countries face significant problems maintaining effective health and social care systems and are unable to respond to the basic needs of refugees and migrants. War and internal conflicts in countries of origin, extreme poverty in transit countries, and limited resources and political pressure in rich destination countries are just some of the obstacles inhibiting action. The resultant impact is that refugees and migrants face severe difficulties in securing food, shelter and access to healthcare.
The Turkish Medical Association carried the problems that this big crisis caused in the field of health and medicine to the agenda of the World Medical Association and stressed the importance of national medical associations’ approach to these problems together with their suggestions for solution. Along with these efforts, the WMA adopted the “Resolution on Global Refugee Crisis” in its 66th General Assembly meeting held in Moscow in October 2015.
In addition to these developments, the WMA is organizing a symposium on “War, Migration and Health: What Should Physicians Do” to be held in İstanbul on 26-27 February 2016. This event, organized with the contribution of Turkish Medical Association will provide international experts as well as representatives from medical organizations of different countries an opportunity to present their respective country experiences and exchange information.
The WMA urgently requests your participation in order to learn from your current or past relevant experience including: the health problems of refugees and migrants, access to healthcare, government reactions and responses, NMA and NGO experience, observations and recommendations. This will enable collective learning as well as support the development of positive steps as we seek to address this crisis.
We look forward to meet you in this important symposium.
Sir Michael Marmot
President, World Medical Association
Dr. Bayazıt İlhan
President, Turkish Medical Association