219634 Environmental Health Status and Health Concerns of Pata Rat Romani

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 12:30 PM - 12:48 PM

Jennifer Hall, EdD , Health Division, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA
Catherine Zeman, PhD , Health Division, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA
Diane Depken, EdD , Health Promotion and Education, Univeristy of Northernr Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA
Ioan Bocsan, MD, PhD , Infectious Diseases/ Epidemiology, Iuliu Haigatian University of Medicine and Pharmacy and Iuliu Moldovan Institute of Public Health, Cluj Napoca, Romania
The Roma are the largest minority and by far the most marginalized group of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) with the highest number residing in Romania. Research on the Roma's environmental health status and their specific health concerns is insufficient and lacks their input. Building on long-standing collaborations with University of Northern Iowa faculty and students, the Family Aid Foundation, and health professionals in Cluj Napoca, Romania, interviews were conducted in Dallas/Pata Rat, a Roma community of approximately 600, who live and work as scavengers off Cluj-Napoca's municipal landfill. In May 2009, participants from 31 households shared their views and experiences through semi-structured interviews and conversations regarding recent illness, perceived health problems, and community health concerns for both children and adults.

Residents on average lived more than 10 years in “Pata Rat” with more than five family members per household. The most common self-reported health problems were; blood pressure, heart and stomach problems, ear, eye and skin infections and asthma/bronchitis. When asked to identify community causes for health problems, the most respondents answered ‘misery' followed by dirt, sewage, solid waste, dust, heat, hygiene and rats. When asked how often they worry about personal safety, food, economic, housing security, and access to medical care, there was a high degree of worry expressed in all categories.

Conclusions from this study address both social and environmental justice issues and discuss basic human rights violations. Recommendations are made by both researchers and participants in the areas of environmental and occupational health.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
By the end of this session, participants will; Have increased general knowledge regarding Roma’s environmental health status Be able to identify and list conditions in the environment that impact the Roma's health status Have greater knowledge of the linkages between environmental and occupational health concerns and overall health of the Roma of Dallas/Pata Rat Have an increased general knowledge of Roma scavenging communities in CEE Identify the health disparities in this population Appreciate the challenges of international collaboration efforts Begin to consider the health consequences of insecurity regarding food, shelter, and safety Be able to identify human rights violations that affect Roma populations

Keywords: Community Health, Environmental Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: In collaboration with study authors, I have spent the last three years collecting data and working with the Pata Rat Roma communities in relation to their community and environmental health concerns. In addition, I have extensive background in international health outreach programs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.