WHO Regional Office for Europe in collaboration with the WHO Collaborating Center on Vulnerability and Health at the Department of Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Public Health, University of Debrecen Debrecen, Hungary organized a three day event titled ”Central Eastern European Networking Event of Researchers on Roma Health and Policy” June 1-3, 2016. The event provided a great opportunity for knowledge sharing among public health researchers from European countries with high representation of the Roma population.
Zoltán Szilvássy, Piroska Östlin, Margit Balázs and Róza Ádány had the pleasure of opening the event and introducing the audience and press to the meeting and the five sessions which were related to non-communicable diseases among Roma, communicable diseases among Roma, socioeconomic factors as health determinants, access to health care, and genetic/genomic susceptibility among Roma.
As chairperson of the communicable diseases session, Kristefer Stojanovski, PhD candidate, MPH (Center for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation-Studiorum, Skopje, Macedonia) presented on immunization among Roma children in Central and Eastern Europe: What are the true vaccination rates and barriers to coverage? In his presentation he shared analyses regarding vaccination coverage among Roma children in Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and factors that impeded higher immunization rates. Afterwards he opened a discussion on variation of immunization by different sources, and the need for improved and comparable methodologies in order to accurately report on immunization. Additionally, he discussed the need for longitudinal research on immunization among Roma, how we public health professionals can improve upon best practices, and accepting how the diversity of Roma communities influence immunization.
The third day was reserved for discussions and round table about identification of areas for collaboration and elaboration of a strategic document in order continue with the collaborative efforts in the future in order to improve the health and social inclusion of Roma populations.
The event was closed with expressing great satisfaction both from the moderators and participants and subsequent publicity on the WHO Regional Office for Europe.