Presentation of annual results of “Povezivanje”

Combination of experience and know-how of the Ministry of Health and UNICEF with telecommunications technologies of Telenor improves health and quality of life of Roma
May 26, 2011 – Owing to the “Povezivanje” project of the Ministry of Health, UNICEF and Telenor, data on 95 708 Roma have been collected, registration records for 820 Roma habitats have been made and conditions where 26 347 families live have been described in detail in the last year.

The project has improved education of Roma families in Serbia and support in exercising their rights in the area of healthcare and insurance. As a result of connecting the Ministry with UNICEF and Telenor and combining experience and know-how with modern technologies, work of healthcare mediators has been improved and made easier significantly.
“Since the launch of the project of Roma healthcare mediators, 120 708 Roma have been registered, 8 238 children have been vaccinated, 4 924 women have had a gynaecological check-up, 14 468 Roma have selected their medical doctor, while 1333 children have been enrolled to school. Support which the Ministry of Health has obtained through the “Povezivanje” project has largely helped mediators in performing their work in a better-quality and more efficient manner,” says Zoran Stanković, Minister of Health.
The partnership on the project continues by connecting 15 new mediators in 10 new cities, resulting in 75 mediators working in 60 municipalities of Serbia today. They have been joined by 60 nurses on call, who also visit Roma habitats, connecting Roma with healthcare institutions.
“I welcome social responsibility of Telenor and the openness of the healthcare system to the introduction of this innovative method of work in functioning of the overall primary healthcare. I particularly welcome commitment of Roma healthcare mediators, who have mastered the technology and persistently and energetically put it in practice in order to bring a better quality of life to those who need it most,” said Judita Reichenberg, UNICEF Director.

Owing to laptops, phones and the Internet provided by Telenor, mediators communicate better among themselves and with Roma, and last year they designed a database used by all state institutions today. UNICEF has contributed to “Povezivanje” through additional training aimed at improving the position of Roma children and gaining necessary skills and knowledge for keeping records. There are several hundreds of thousands of Roma in Serbia and most of them are not registered in the system, have no basic documents, and therefore cannot exercise basic rights to healthcare, education, employment, etc.
Aiming to improve health and quality of life of Roma, the Ministry of Health launched the project of Roma healthcare mediators in 2008. Mediators are Roma females, mothers, women with at least primary education, employed in healthcare centres and trained to quickly and efficiently provide support to Roma families.