:: National context

Short overview of the situation in Slovakia in terms of Roma population, their living conditions and main issues:

Total population: 5 426 252 (dec.2015)

Main ethnic groups: Slovak, Hungarian, Roma

Official data: Roma are 105 738 people

Non-official data: Roma are about 360 000 – 400 000 (6, 6 % - 7, 4 %)

Discrepancy due to the fact that many Roma identify themselves as Turks or Bulgarians during census.

Poverty rates: Roma: approximately 81%, Slovak: 12, 4 %.

Unemployment rates - between 30% and 45 %, depending on the definition of unemployment

Life expectancy: Roma – 64,5 years, Slovak – 76,11 years.

In Slovakia, about half of the Roma population is integrated into the overall population, while the other half live in so-called Roma settlements. As in many countries in the Region, Roma settlements in Slovakia are often geographically isolated and characterized by a lack of infrastructure, hygienic amenities, and social and health services. Due to these and other factors, employment rates, educational attainment, and health literacy are especially low in Roma settlements. Poor living conditions and socioeconomic exclusion influence the health status of the settlements’ inhabitants, and Roma living in these settlements are among the population groups most exposed to health-related risk factors.

The health situation for Roma communities is affected by several factors characterised by a high frequency of illness, chronic and infectious diseases, permanent reduction in physical and mental performance, repeated ill-health - particularly in ever-growing isolated Roma communities and low life expectancy (according to estimates - about 15 years lower than in the nearby majority population).

Preventing the occurrence of epidemics and intervening in their acute occurrences is - according to domestic and international experience - only possible with the help of a long-term and systematic health promotion program based on work performed by field healthcare assistants who conduct health education, training, consultancy and services a network of health care providers and public health with population groups most at risk.

Given the above situation and the inevitable need for a speedy resolution, thanks to the joint efforts of institutions from two sectors - The Platform to promote the health of disadvantaged groups (NGO) and the Ministry of Health (State) as of 01.10.2014 the first system solution aimed at implementing a long-term health education program in the environment of excluded Roma communities in Slovakia was implemented with the start of the National Healthy Communities project.

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