Life of a refugee in Turkey: disability & mental health
Turkey hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees. Access to health care is difficult with inadequate awareness of available services, language and insufficient cultural sensitiveness representing the main barriers. The burden on expenditures by the mental and psychological consequences of conflict/displacement is high; there is also evidence to suggest that refugees may be at a higher risk of other types of disability, as a result of conflict-related injuries, poverty, and barriers to accessing healthcare and other support services. The loss or damage of assistive devices and breakdown in infrastructure and social structures, all common in situations of displacement, can also cause and/or exacerbate the experience of disability.
Andrea Patterson joined Relief International as Country Director for Turkey in October 2017. She previously worked for the International Rescue Committee where she served for seven years in a variety of health technical and management roles in Jordan, Liberia, Turkey, Iraq and Nigeria. Andrea has also worked for the International Organization for Migration in Indonesia and Sierra Leone proving program and research support to the counter-trafficking unit. In Indonesia, she led the design and implementation of an anti-trafficking prevention campaign with MTV EXIT. Andrea has also lived and worked multiple other countries including Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Andrea holds a Master’s of Science in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a Master’s of Arts in International Development and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (with a concentration in International Relations and Political Philosophy) from Concordia University.