- making health information more accessible to the Roma community in Ireland
- culturally appropriate and clear information on pregnancy and birth
- first targeted maternal health resource for Roma women
Today (Wednesday, 19th April 2023) Hildegarde Naughton, T.D., Minister of State for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy launched a new HSE website resource (hse.ie/roma) and booklet specifically for Roma women called Roma Daja – supporting Roma women during and after pregnancy.
Supporting Roma mothers during pregnancy and birth is a key objective of the HSE’s National Social Inclusion Office. Roma women often don’t come forward for health checks early on in pregnancy due to a lack of awareness of the Irish healthcare service.
‘Roma Daja supporting Roma women during and after pregnancy’ is a free booklet and online resource from the HSE, with advice for Roma women for each stage of pregnancy and the first few weeks after birth. The resources are designed as an aid for health care professionals to communicate more effectively with Roma women. Information includes guidance on how to apply for a PPS number and medical card, as well as contact details for maternity hospitals and HSE Roma outreach workers and where to go for free GP/doctor clinics. The booklet and online content is available in English, Romanian, Czech and Slovak.
The launch of the resources will take the form of a panel discussion on Roma maternal healthcare and Roma health access with the aim of raising awareness amongst service providers.
Minister Hildegarde Naughton, TD said: “As Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy in the Department of Health, I am committed to fairer and faster access to healthcare services. This is a core principle of Sláintecare.
“I recognise that the Roma community can face barriers in accessing healthcare services. The Women’s Health Action Plan further acknowledges these issues and is working to ensure access to health supports in settings that are comfortable and convenient for this community. To make access to services easier, an inclusion health approach is required. The Roma Daja resource is an excellent measure that demonstrates how increased and fair access to healthcare can be achieved for all.”
Speaking at the launch, Professor Maeve Eogan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Rotunda Hospital welcomed the materials as a much needed intervention, saying: “This project is a great resource for Roma women and those working with Roma. Poor awareness about available services, pathways of access and rights and entitlements remains one of the key barriers to Roma maternal healthcare. Roma women need to be able to understand the information they are being given and signposted to relevant and appropriate care for them and their babies. The panel discussions are also an important aspect of the launch event, helping raise awareness of the health and access issues facing Roma.”
Bianca Tanase, Roma Health Worker with Pavee Point also welcomed the new resource. She said: “It is so encouraging to see the HSE publish this booklet. It is important that Roma women have access to the correct information and shows Roma women that the HSE are taking our needs into account. This is important as not all Roma women know about the services, or feel the services are not for them, and may be afraid of discrimination and racism.”
Jenny Liston, Roma Programme Coordinator at Pavee Point added: “Pavee Point is delighted to have worked with HSE Social Inclusion on this project building on our previous work, Pavee Mothers, which served as a useful model for providing maternal health information to Roma mothers in a culturally appropriate way. This work is vital when research has shown that in Ireland 24% of Roma women’s first point of contact with maternity services was when they were giving birth. The resource is a first step in addressing Roma health inequalities and there is a need to build on this positive work to deliver better outcomes for Roma women and their babies.”
The booklet is an adaptation of Pavee Mothers produced by Pavee Point for Travellers and has been adapted in partnership with Roma women, for Roma women, by the HSE and partners in the Roma maternal health working group with assistance from MyChild.ie and a HSE Breastfeeding consultant.
Last updated on: 19 / 04 / 2023