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 Jarcuska
  • Daniela Bobakova
  • Jan Uhrin
  • Ladislav Bobak
  • Ingrid Babinska
  • Peter Kolarcik
  • Zuzana Veselska
  • Andrea Madarasova Geckova
  • HEPA-META team
Original Article



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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pavol Jarcuska
    • 1
  • Daniela Bobakova
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jan Uhrin
    • 4
  • Ladislav Bobak
    • 5
  • Ingrid Babinska
    • 2
    • 3
  • Peter Kolarcik
    • 2
    • 3
  • Zuzana Veselska
    • 2
    • 3
  • Andrea Madarasova Geckova
    • 2
    • 3
    • 6
  • HEPA-META team
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Infectology and Travel Medicine, Medical FacultyPJ Safarik UniversityKosiceSlovak Republic
  2. 2.Graduate School Kosice Institute for Society and HealthPJ Safarik UniversityKosiceSlovak Republic
  3. 3.Department of Health Psychology, Medical Faculty, Institute of Public HealthPJ Safarik UniversityKosiceSlovak Republic
  4. 4.1st Department of PsychiatryLouis Pasteur University HospitalKosiceSlovak Republic
  5. 5.Associated Tissue Bank, Medical FacultyLouis Pasteur University Hospital, PJ Safarik UniversityKosiceSlovak Republic
  6. 6.Department of Christian Education, Sts. Cyril and Methodius Faculty of TheologyOlomouc University Social Health Institute, Palacky University OlomoucOlomoucCzech Republic
  7. 7.PJ Safarik UniversityKosiceSlovak Republic

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