The case of connecting Roma people living in secluded communities to basic healthcare

The European Commission has issued a report on the health status of the Roma population in Europe. The report concludes that Roma in Europe suffer a greater exposure to wider risks of ill health, have poorer access to preventive and healthcare services and suffer poorer health outcomes than the general population. The report also highlights that as a result of cutbacks linked to the economic crisis, the health status of Roma and their access to health services is deteriorating further in several areas. This latest report reinforces the worries of the public health community about the Roma health situation, and that urgent policy actions are needed to tackle the Roma public health emergency.

In the first session, the discussion focused on the situation in Slovakia, as a case study to demonstrate the challenges Roma living in secluded communities face in having access to basic healthcare services. It also offered some solutions as to how local authorities, stakeholders and the Roma themselves, with the active involvement of Roma health mediators, can work together to promote meaningful Roma inclusion.

Recognising that each stakeholder (Member States, European Commission, (pro) Roma civil society) has its own responsibility to promote meaningful Roma integration, this session will provide an inclusive platform for panellists and participants to have an in-depth discussion about the crucial aspects of Roma integration and how aspects of public health could be included inthe non-health specific elements of national strategies for Roma integration (housing, employment, education, anti-discrimination), following the health in all policies (HiAP) approach aiming at better governance for health. The debate also aimed to discover what role Roma Health Mediators can play in facilitating that process.