241130 Romani children's health: Results of structured interviews with Romani mothers in Bulgaria

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gergana Kodjebacheva, PhD , Center for Eye Epidemiology and Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Siyka Bozukova , Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Slavka Mutafova , English, Beverly Hills Adult School, Beverly Hills
Romani children (commonly referred to as "gypsies" in the literature), an ethnic minority of northern Indian origin, suffer from worse health outcomes than the general population in Bulgaria. We conducted structured interviews with 14 Romani mothers residing in one modern and industrialized city in Bulgaria to understand children's health-related behaviors and barriers to receiving care. According to the mothers, all children have governmental health insurance regardless of the employment status of the parents. All receive the required immunizations. All children receive an eye exam or vision screening in the first-grade, as required by the schools. A barrier to wearing eyeglasses that children experience is peer bullying. Children are usually taken to the dentist only when they have dental complaints. Mothers state that ensuring that their children are healthy is their top priority. Barriers to health care, however, include financial instability, limited reimbursement for medications and dental care, transportation difficulties, and parental illiteracy. Mothers state that to improve the health, health-related behaviors, and home sanitary conditions of children, parents need stable and better-paying careers. The findings suggest that interventions promoting vision and dental care among parents and children may help promote pediatric health. Literacy and work placement programs for parents may help increase career opportunities for parents thus improving access to and quality of care among children.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss health-related behaviors of Romani children 2. Describe barriers to accessing health services among Romani children 3. Name interventions that may help improve the health of Romani children

Keywords: International Public Health, Barriers to Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My research focuses on child health. In my dissertation, I examined the influence of individual, neighborhood, and school factors on children's visual impairment. I authored or co-authored peer-reviewed manuscripts regarding children's well-being.
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.