Since 2013, SAMS has been one of the co-leaders of the Health Cluster in Turkey, leading the humanitarian response and operations in Syria. SAMS works closely with the Ministry of Health to facilitate our operations in Turkey and Syria.
Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, SAMS has delivered medical supplies and humanitarian aid into Syria through our cross-border operations in Turkey thanks to the UN Security Council’s cross-border mechanism that has served as key pipeline for SAMS and other relief groups to deliver medical assistance to civilians in acute need.
SAMS logistics and procurement staff based in Gaziantep and Reyhanli oversee our cross-border operations in northwest Syria to ensure that our medical facilities are well-equipped to serve populations in need, many of whom have limited or no access to healthcare. In order to be prepared to respond swiftly during emergencies, SAMS also operates a warehouse in Termanin.
Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Center:
In May 2019, SAMS launched a Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Center in Gaziantep, Turkey, providing individual and group counseling sessions, group activities, and workshops to vulnerable individuals who had endured various traumatic experiences due to the ongoing conflict in Syria. The center provides services free of charge throughout the week, thanks to the generous support of the U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).
SAMS has established the center in compliance with the Gaziantep Health Directorate’s standards and partnered with local and international organizations working in Turkey to build a robust referral network. As a result, this system has improved the number of beneficiaries reaching the center, including the total number of cases referred by other service providers and the total number of services provided at the center.
Funded by PRM, SAMS has also partnered with the Take My Hand Social Assistance Association to provide specialized behavioral support services to Syrian refugee children in Istanbul who are living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The program will reach 40 children in 2020 and 40 children next year, providing each of them with development and learning sessions that are tailored to their needs. Depending on their learning plan, these sessions include developing expressive speech, self-care, play, gross motor skills, fine motor skills like drawing and coloring, imitation and other social skills, and literacy. The program also includes group sessions, sensory integrative therapy to help them process sensory inputs more effectively, group activities for their caregivers (for self-care and respite, awareness sessions on issues relevant to children with ASD), consultation for the caregivers.
Through the same grant, we are also providing capacity-building support for the Take My Hand center through a wide array of technical workshops and training for the special education trainers and sensory integration therapists, as well as general PSS support (individual and group sessions, referrals for specialized MH and GBV support) for the wider Syrian refugee communities in Istanbul, Gaziantep, and Kilis and MHPSS capacity building training in CBT, trauma treatment, and group intervention.
Medical Education & Training:
As part of our steadfast commitment to supporting medical workers inside Syria, SAMS continues to lead hands-on workshops and training to ensure that our personnel have access to the most up-to-date innovations and patient management practices in the field of medicine.
From 2015 until 2017, SAMS supported El-Emel Hospital in Reyhanli. It was the only hospital run mainly by private medical groups and Syrian doctors with prior approval from the Turkish authorities. The hospital provided primary health and specialized care, including GI endoscopy, ENT, trauma, and specialized surgeries, for free to Syrian refugee patients.
Additionally, SAMS organized and facilitates medical missions to El-Emel Hospital in 2017, bringing highly-skilled medical professionals and surgeons from the U.S. and abroad to treat complicated surgical cases.