More efficient healthcare mediators

Partnership of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia, 
UNICEF Serbia and Telenor

“Povezivanje” (“Connecting”) project represents support to the continuation of the healthcare mediators project through training and equipment, aimed at providing aid to Roma families

April 13, 2010 – Within the Povezivanje (Connecting) project, implemented by the Ministry of Health, UNICEF Serbia and Telenor, Roma healthcare mediators have today undergone a one-day training course and received technical equipment for more efficient and better-quality support to Roma families.

Thanks to Telenor tariff plan and handsets, the mediators can now make free phone calls within their group and be in contact with the families they are responsible for, while special software and laptops will help them in reporting and communicating with institutions.

Wishing to improve health and quality of life of the Roma in Serbia, the Ministry of Health launched the healthcare mediators project in 2008. Healthcare mediators are mothers with at least primary education, for whom this project is also a career. They attended training in public health, health prevention, communication skills, hygiene, vaccination, healthcare and health insurance, domestic violence, and human trafficking. 

The project includes 60 mediators in 50 cities. So far, they made 56,178 individual visits and registered 102,661 Roma for the project. “In addition to the registration, IDs and medical cards have been provided for 5,677 people, while 4,800 children have been vaccinated and 1,672 pregnant women and young mothers have undergone a medical check-up,” says Dubravka Šaranović, Senior Consultant in the Ministry of Health.

UNICEF contributes to the Povezivanje (Connecting) project by providing additional training in the registration of children in Roma families. “For several years, Telenor has been cooperating with UNICEF in other countries where it operates, and now we cooperate in Serbia as well. In the Povezivanje (Connecting) project, we wish to join forces and achieve visible results,” said Vesna Savić Đukić, Head of UNICEF Department for Private Sector Partnerships.

The mediators attended a one-day training in Telenor today, as part of their regular education, after which they will join the healthcare system.

Challenges ahead of the project leaders are many, including an insufficient number of mediators, a large number of families to visit, difficulties with collection and analysis of data gathered by mediators and used by specific Ministries. The equipment is the first step in overcoming these issues.