Turkey suspends free medical therapy for Syrians

IDLIB, Syria —Turkey has just lately suspended the issuance of the temporary protection ID card — referred to as Kimlik — for Syrian refugees who want lifesaving therapy inside Turkish territories, changing it with a medical tourism doc. 

On Sept. 20, the medical coordination workplace of Bab al-Hawa crossing with Turkey issued a circular stating, “We hereby inform sufferers who’ve obtained medical referrals that the issuance of those medical referrals have stopped as of Sept. 11, and till the activation of a brand new well being system for Syrian sufferers in Turkish hospitals.”

The Turkish authorities would challenge a receipt for a Kimlik — a doc requesting the Kimlik that accommodates private details about the beneficiary — for Syrian sufferers upon entry to the Turkish territories. The Syrian refugee should then head to the Turkish immigration division within the province the place he’s residing and needs to obtain therapy, to exchange the receipt with the official short-term safety card (Kimlik). The card entitles Syrian refugees to obtain all Turkish authorities providers, together with free medical therapy at authorities hospitals and free treatment from Turkish pharmacies. 

The most recent Turkish resolution to exchange the Kimlik with a medical tourism doc denies Syrian refugees all these providers, worsening the struggling of many sufferers. These shall be pressured to pay for the pricey medical remedies, which was beforehand coated by the Turkish authorities. 

The medical tourism doc additionally requires sufferers to return to Syria on the expiry of its one-month validity interval.

Bashir Ismail, director of the medical coordination workplace at Bab al-Hawa crossing with Turkey, informed Al-Monitor, “The Turkish facet on the Cilvegozu border crossing with Syria, reverse the Bab al-Hawa crossing, has suspended since Aug. 16 the issuance of the Kimlik receipt to Syrian sufferers coming into Turkey for therapy.”

He mentioned, “The brand new medical [tourism document] is just not acknowledged by all Turkish hospitals in all provinces and never all hospitals obtained the round concerning the new resolution. In the meantime, Hatay State Hospital allowed Syrian sufferers [without the Kimlik] to remain till Sept. 15, awaiting the activation of a brand new resolution on the therapy procedures. As of that date, Hatay State Hospital is now not receiving sufferers from Syria.”

Ismail famous that the brand new doc obliges sufferers to return to Syria a month after their entry to Turkey, which isn’t possible in sure circumstances the place therapy would take longer than a month to be accomplished. “Additionally, the choice impacts sufferers who’re being handled in Turkish provinces which might be removed from the Syrian border. In the meantime, about 450 sufferers coming from northwestern Syria are ready for the brand new system to be activated at hospitals within the Turkish metropolis of Reyhanli, in order that they will start their therapy,” he added.

He additionally mentioned there are 300 sufferers in northwest Syria who’ve postponed their journey to Turkey hoping the Turkish authorities will provide you with a brand new system aside from the issuance of the medical tourism doc.

Ismail mentioned, “Since early 2021, over 6,000 Syrian sufferers with pressing and emergency medical circumstances have entered Turkey. This quantity contains round 1,350 most cancers sufferers in comparison with 1,800 most cancers sufferers final yr.”

He defined that there are two kinds of medical circumstances coming into Turkey by means of the Bab al-Hawa crossing. The emergency ones are the reduction circumstances coming instantly from Syria to Turkish hospitals. These largely encompass untimely infants, burns, struggle accidents and highway accidents. The pressing circumstances are sufferers who want liver and kidney transplants, coronary heart surgical procedures and most cancers sufferers.

“On account of the brand new Turkish measure, 120 sufferers have returned to Syrian territory with out receiving their therapy,” Ismail mentioned. He added that there are at the moment 600 sufferers who urgently must enter Turkish territory for therapy. 

Ahmed al-Khaled, a coronary heart affected person from Idlib, lamented the Turkish resolution that canceled free therapy. “It disadvantaged us of free medicines, amid hovering costs of medicines, each in Syria and Turkey. Earlier than this resolution, we’d get our wanted medicines from Turkish pharmacies freed from cost,” he informed Al-Monitor.

He mentioned, “Now we’ve to pay the excessive price of our therapy in Turkish hospitals, whereas we’re already dwelling in excessive poverty. Additionally, we discover ourselves pressured to return to Syria each month to resume our doc, no matter how far town the place we’re receiving our therapy is from the Turkish crossing with Syria. That is draining financially and well being sensible.”

Yaqoub Salameh, a father of a sick youngster from the Deir Hassan camp within the northern countryside of Idlib, informed Al-Monitor, “Beforehand, issues had been good for Syrian sufferers in Turkish hospitals. Therapy was freed from cost, we obtained excellent care and the procedures had been straightforward. Medicines had been obtainable and surgical procedures can be accomplished as shortly as wanted. However at present the entry procedures to Turkey for Syrian sufferers modified. Issues have grow to be extra sophisticated. Syrian sufferers — already crippled by the struggle — need to pay a therapy invoice that they can not afford amid the unfold of poverty and unemployment again residence.”

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