Roma people’s access to health and long-term care in the spotlight


The annual conference of the European Roma Grassroot Organisations Network (ERGO Network) presented its research on access of Roma people to health and long-term care, based on feedback of ERGO members in six EU countries. The results show widespread exclusion and discrimination regarding health and care. AGE was invited to contribute to the discussions.

ERGO’s findings show that social determinants of health have a strong impact on how Roma people age and on the care needs they develop. Given widespread risk of poverty and social exclusion, as well as fewer available health and care services for Roma communities in rural and remote areas, many are unable to access health and care services. To address those challenges, ERGO proposed to further develop Roma health mediators, who can help Roma in the access to care, and fight antigysyism in the heath and care systems.

At the conference, we underlined the importance of ERGO’s findings, which further deepen the knowledge of the intersecting issues faced by older Roma, already explored in the AGE Barometer 2020. The findings show that relying on informal care as a default choice without alternative, care systems perpetuate gender and other inequalities, such as the exclusion of Roma from formal labour markets.

AGE also highlighted the importance of accessible and health-promoting environments that can help supporting autonomy and independence of persons in need for care. Segregation of Roma communities and under-investment in the infrastructures and services of these communities increases the risk of developing limiting, chronic health conditions or disabilities – cementing the exclusion of many older Roma.

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