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Bridging the gap of access to health information and services for Syrian refuges in Turkey with m-Health application

Bridging the gap of access to health information and services for Syrian refuges in Turkey with m-Health application

Starting from August 2019, the International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF) and the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) under Columbia University have commenced their first cooperative project—Refugees Act and Communicate for Health (REACH): Using Technology to Increase Health Literacy and Health Care Access for Refugees in Turkey. The project aims to facilitate access to health care information for Syrian refugees in Turkey by developing a mobile health (mHealth) application. Also, through the process, health authorities, local youth, refugee youth, non-governmental organizations and academia in Turkey will increase awareness, willingness and collaboration to improve refugees’ health literacy and health care access.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, a total of 5.6 million Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring countries of which Turkey now is the largest host country to Syrian refugees, with 3.6 million registered Syrian nationals. In Turkey, health care services in the public sector are freely available for registered refugees; however, numerous issues such as geographic boundaries, economic ability and language barriers limit refugees’ access to available health care services. The project, implemented in Istanbul where the majority of Syrian refugees live, will run for one year from August 2019 to July 2020. It will promote communication among refugee youth, local youth and various stakeholders to facilitate the development of an mHealth application allowing refugee youth and host communities to have easier access to health care information and services. In addition, a project website, photography exhibitions, panels, media news and policy reports will be produced to advocate for refugee health rights, and studies on relevant topics will be submitted to international scientific publications.

In the face of increasing humanitarian needs across the globe, using technology to improve the effectiveness of aid has become one of the major trends in the humanitarian context. The project is the TaiwanICDF’s first humanitarian assistance project in Turkey, and the TaiwanICDF will also dispatch a volunteer to Turkey to assist in the project implementation. By strengthening Taiwan’s participation in this project and sharing Taiwan’s experiences, we will deepen collaboration and reinforce the image of Taiwan as a humanitarian aid provider.

Photo Credit: DFID - UK Department for International Development

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  • Date:2019/8/27