Women from the Roma and Sinti communities are particularly vulnerable regarding their access to health care and more should be done to address the multiple forms of discrimination against them, said the head of the OSCE Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues, Andrzej Mirga, on International Women’s Day on 8 March 2012.
The available data provides illustrative information on the obstacles Roma women face in accessing medical help and shows that the gap between the health of the Roma and non-Roma population remains wide, Mirga said.
“The average lifespan among Roma is around 10 years lower than that for the rest of the population. Infant mortality rates are double those of the non-Roma population,” he noted.
"These statistics reflect the inequalities Roma women face in accessing medical care,” he said. “Poverty, lack of education, early marriage, segregation and isolation in ghetto-type settlements – all these factors reinforce each other in producing dire consequences for the status of Roma women.”
He said governments must address issues of discrimination, access to education and reducing poverty to lessen the health inequalities between Roma women and non-Roma.
“Health problems faced by the Roma and particularly Roma women should be addressed as a matter of urgency,” Mirga concluded.