Project Together for Better Health in Lunik IX. is an extension of the longstanding international project Together for Better Health, whose main objective is to improve health, increase education levels and promote employment of the inhabitants of Roma communities.
To develop human capital, improve access to health care, prevent the occurrence of epidemics and capture their appearance, according to domestic and international experiences, is only possible with the help of long-term and systematic program of health promotion, based on the work of Roma Health Mediators in the field.
Project Together for Better Health in Lunik IX is carried out by the Association for Culture and Education and Communication (ACEC) with financial support from GSK Slovakia since October 2012. There are currently six Roma Health Mediators who operate in the Lunik IX area and who provide health awareness, education, consulting services and network of health care providers and public health to the most at risk population groups.
Building of the Human resources in the field is one of the key components of the project since its beginning. Their targeted building, education, personal and professional development is one of the specific objectives of the project. Challenging area and the environment in which they work requires continuous learning and constant enhancement of motivation. Educational activities for Roma Health Mediators include trainings for mediators and their coordinators, lectures with health care providers, organizing events aimed at health education and hygiene directly on the site.
The most extensive project activity is the implementation of work of the Roma Health Mediators (RHMs). Up to 98% of project activities are carried out directly in the field. Over the past three years, the RHMs managed to build up a network of clients and collaborating doctors and helping professions.
The main activity of RHMs is inviting mothers with children on preventive medical examinations, compulsory vaccination in neonatal and counseling. They are dedicated to clients among which there are pregnant women and women in postpartum. With these clients the RHMs supervise the care of the newborn, and if necessary, they also oversee the correct preparation of food formulas. RHMs are dedicated also to clients who suffer from chronic diseases- they measure blood pressure, spread awareness about regular use of medications, provide health education about the need for compliance with drinking regime, ensure compliance with the regular check ups with clients' doctors, and regular use of prescribed drugs.
In 2015, there were more than 26 000 registered interventions carried out in Lunik IX, including inviting clients to preventive examinations, treatment of injuries, and health education. RHMs address the increasingly severe and demanding cases which require greater expertise and time investment. RHMs are able to use their regular training in practice and are able to solve many problems on their own initiative- they are able to look up the necessary supplementary information during their home study. They know on which experts and what institutions they can turn to solve all sorts of situations.
Healthy Communities project, and its demonstrated results have convinced other partners for the co-operation. Currently, RHMs cooperate with local family doctors, pediatricians, physician specialists, hospitals, schools, government representatives, staff of regional public health office, representatives of other institutions and NGOs, field social workers and community workers.