Somali students have traveled to Turkey to attend the Vocational School of Health’s Department of Nursing to complete their internship as part of a training program jointly undertaken by the Turkish Foundation of Religion and Culture Services and the National Education Ministry. After three years, these students will go back to their country and provide medical care in their homeland.
Senior high school students are currently taking courses in the Department of Nursing at the Vocational Schools of Health in the provinces of Ankara, Manisa and Kayseri as well as Konya’s Akşehir and Ereğli districts. The students also complete their summer internships at hospitals affiliated with the Health Ministry.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), the manager of the Turkish Foundation of Religion and Culture Services, Veysi Kaya, said they began providing humanitarian aid to Somalia four years ago.
The foundation joined the National Education Ministry and its affiliated agencies and institutes to identify the needs of the region through several committees in 2012. As part of the humanitarian aid, Kaya said the committees reached an agreement to bring students to Turkey in order to offer them the necessary education in certain fields.
Kaya explained that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Somalia during his tenure as prime minister and raised the issue of educating Somali students in fields that are needed in the country. Kaya said the training program was initiated with the National Education Ministry after Erdoğan’s visit.
Within the framework of the program, 90 Somali students were enrolled in vocational high schools focusing on health while 60 students were enrolled in a maritime high school and agricultural high schools, and 100 students in imam-hatip high schools at the beginning of 2012. Kaya said all these students are in their senior year, adding: “When we visited Somalia four years ago, they did not have a hospital or medical personnel. Currently, a Turkish hospital offers its services in Somalia and their medical stuff have been trained in Turkey.”
Kaya highlighted that Turkish schools have been opened in Somalia, and said that a Turkish high school offers its services to 400 Somali students. “As we cannot bring so many people here, we have tried to take education to them,” Kaya stressed.
Kaya said they create employment opportunities for them in Somali, as there is an urgent demand there.
“The government built hospitals there, most of which need staff. Our primary aim is to send the students back to their homeland when they complete their education and support Turkish physicians there,” he said. Some students can continue their studies at medical faculties or return home to work, Kaya added.
Havva Yılmaz, the deputy manager at Yıldırım Beyazıt University’s Ankara-based training and research hospital’s Department of Health and Nursing Services, said 15 female Somali students began their 36-day internships at the hospital.
She said the interns are not differentiated among the other medical vocational high school and university students. “Our students know Turkish and they do not experience communication problems with patients. We are happy to train them,” she emphasized.
One Somali student, Anisa Abdulkadir Omer, expressed his happiness at studying in Turkey. “We are together here and enjoying our time. Patients had some difficulties in seeing us at first, but now everything is OK,” he said. Omer added that he wants to study medicine.
“I want to help people in my homeland,” he stressed. Anisa Abdullahi Adam also willingly came to Turkey. “I am thinking of studying medicine or becoming a charge nurse [sic]. I want to provide the best health service in my country,” Adam said.