Original Article

International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 427-434

Are barriers in accessing health services in the Roma population associated with worse health status among Roma?

  • Pavol JarcuskaAffiliated withDepartment of Infectology and Travel Medicine, Medical Faculty, PJ Safarik University Email author 
  • , Daniela BobakovaAffiliated withGraduate School Kosice Institute for Society and Health, PJ Safarik UniversityDepartment of Health Psychology, Medical Faculty, Institute of Public Health, PJ Safarik University
  • , Jan UhrinAffiliated with1st Department of Psychiatry, Louis Pasteur University Hospital
  • , Ladislav BobakAffiliated withAssociated Tissue Bank, Medical Faculty, Louis Pasteur University Hospital, PJ Safarik University
  • , Ingrid BabinskaAffiliated withGraduate School Kosice Institute for Society and Health, PJ Safarik UniversityDepartment of Health Psychology, Medical Faculty, Institute of Public Health, PJ Safarik University
  • , Peter KolarcikAffiliated withGraduate School Kosice Institute for Society and Health, PJ Safarik UniversityDepartment of Health Psychology, Medical Faculty, Institute of Public Health, PJ Safarik University
  • , Zuzana VeselskaAffiliated withGraduate School Kosice Institute for Society and Health, PJ Safarik UniversityDepartment of Health Psychology, Medical Faculty, Institute of Public Health, PJ Safarik University
  • , Andrea Madarasova GeckovaAffiliated withGraduate School Kosice Institute for Society and Health, PJ Safarik UniversityDepartment of Health Psychology, Medical Faculty, Institute of Public Health, PJ Safarik UniversityDepartment of Christian Education, Sts. Cyril and Methodius Faculty of Theology, Olomouc University Social Health Institute, Palacky University Olomouc
  • , HEPA-META teamAffiliated withPJ Safarik University

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Abstract

Objectives

The health of Roma has been found to be poorer than that of the majority population. The aim of this study was to explore the differences between Roma and non-Roma regarding perceived barriers in accessing health services. Furthermore, we aimed to assess the association between self-rated health status and Roma ethnicity and explore to what degree barriers in accessing health services explain this association.

Methods

We used data from the cross-sectional HepaMeta study conducted in 2011 in Slovakia. The final sample comprised 452 Roma (mean age 34.7; 35.2 % men) and 403 (mean age 33.5; 45.9 % men) non-Roma respondents.

Results

Roma ethnicity was found to be significantly associated with poorer self-rated health status. A considerable part of this association can be explained by barriers in accessing health services as perceived by Roma.

Conclusions

Worse health in Roma is partially mediated by worse access to health services, apart from a large educational gap between Roma living in settlements and the majority population. Interventions should focus not only on health literacy among Roma but also on the health care system and health care professionals.

Keywords

Roma Ethnicity Self-rated health Access to health services Health inequalities Slovakia