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Access to health care for Roma children in Central and Eastern Europe: findings from a qualitative study in Bulgaria

By Boika Rechel, Clare Blackburn, Nick Spencer and Bernd Rechel


Background: Despite the attention the situation of the Roma in Central and Eastern Europe has\ud received in the context of European Union enlargement, research on their access to health services\ud is very limited, in particular with regard to child health services.\ud Methods: 50 qualitative in-depth interviews with users, providers and policy-makers concerned\ud with child health services in Bulgaria, conducted in two villages, one town of 70,000 inhabitants, and\ud the capital Sofia.\ud Results: Our findings provide important empirical evidence on the range of barriers Roma children\ud face when accessing health services. Among the most important barriers are poverty,\ud administrative and geographical obstacles, low levels of parental education, and lack of ways to\ud accommodate the cultural, linguistic and religious specifics of this population group.\ud Conclusion: Our research illustrates the complexity of the problems the Roma face. Access to\ud health care cannot be discussed in isolation from other problems this population group\ud experiences, such as poverty, restricted access to education, and social exclusion

Topics: HN, RJ101
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:

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