Practicing in exile: Syrian healthcare professionals working in informal outpatient clinics in Istanbul

Surmeli A., YASIN Y., Umay Tolunay T., USER I., Topsever P.

INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION, vol.60, no.3, pp.188-208, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 60 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/imig.12906
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, American History and Life, Geobase, Historical Abstracts, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, vLex, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.188-208
  • Keywords: barriers to access to healthcare, informal outpatient clinics, Istanbul, licensing, Syrian healthcare professionals, Syrian refugees, Turkey, BARRIERS, ACCESS, REFUGEES
  • Acibadem Mehmet Ali Aydinlar University Affiliated: Yes


Turkey hosts the largest proportion of Syrian refugees worldwide. Although Syrian refugees enjoy similar rights to health as Turkish citizens, some barriers can limit access to healthcare in practice. The healthcare needs of the Syrian population led to the emergence of "informal" clinics operated by Syrian healthcare professionals whom the Ministry of Health does not authorize to practice in Turkey. This qualitative study explores the views of 22 healthcare professionals working in such clinics about health provision for Syrian refugees. Focus groups and in-depth interviews were transcribed and thematically coded. Language and cultural barriers, ill-effects of immigration, insecurity concerning living conditions and expected lawful contribution to health services emerged as themes. Participants suggested that formal authorization to practice in Turkey for the Syrian healthcare workforce would be a good step towards caring for the Syrian population in Turkey.