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Monday, 20 October 2014

Worrying Data about the Health of Roma in Europe

The recently published Roma Health Report of the European Commission contains worrying data of research relating to exposure of Roma to discrimination, social exclusion and impact on their health, as well as comparative analysis of these indicators in other systems, since the research encompassed 28 EU Member States.

The European Commission states that Roma populations in Europe experience discrimination and face obstacles to accessing quality housing, health care and education. The EC concluded in its report that “Roma populations in Europe are in poorer health than the non-Roma populations,” and emphasized that “while sufficient data on Roma exists to evidence social and economic exclusion, and poor health, there are still vast gaps in Roma health status data which impede any full understanding of the situation.” Worried about such situation, the EC called on the international agencies and Governments to undertake measures in order to protect the health of Roma.

In Serbia, there are no formal comprehensive and reliable data about the health status of Roma population. The results of the Serbia Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2014 may be used for comparison. In regard to the Roma population, particularly significant is the survey conducted in almost two thousand households in Roma settlements. Some of the key findings in the field of health and nutrition suggest that there has not been major progress in the last five years, as well as that the differences between general population and that in the Roma settlements are still great. Thus, for example, child mortality in Roma settlements is still almost twice as high in comparison to the national average, while only 9% of children in Roma settlements have been fully vaccinated on time. These are just some of the indicators that illustrate the gap between marginalized children and the national average in Serbia, and indicate the need for intensifying the measures directed at the most vulnerable and excluded children and families in order to improve their living standard and reduce inequality.

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