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"Life expectancy in Roma communities is 10-15 years less than that of those in non-Roma communities"

Piroska Östlin, Director of the Vulnerability and Health Programme, World Health Organization – Regional Office for Europe- in a seminar taught at the University of Alicante

 

 

Well attended by students and members of the UA Interuniversity Institute for Social Development and Peace
Piroska Östlin during the seminar she gave at the Faculty of Health Sciences

 

Alicante , 26th September, 2013

According to a recent survey administered by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), the United Nations Programme for Development (UNDP) and the World Bank, the Roma people are victims of racism, intolerance , discrimination and social exclusion. And so has been confirmed by Piroska Östlin , Director of the Vulnerability and Health Programme at the Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Europe, during a seminar held this morning at the University of Alicante.

Östlin explained the content of the programme she leads as well as the WHO activities performed to improve the health status of the Roma community in Europe and has provided us with some data on the current situation of these people. Thus, according to various official research works and surveys, "one in three Roma people are unemployed and 50% of their children are facing malnutrition more than twice a month”.

Other indicators reflect an alarming situation since "around 45% of this population live in households lacking at least one of the following basic services: kitchen and indoor bathroom, shower or bath and electricity. Also, around 90% of Roma respondents live in households with incomes below the national poverty rates”. These factors and indicators are certainly causing serious health consequences and therefore "there is evidence that life expectancy among Roma communities is 10-15 years lower than in non-Roma communities” , the Director of the Vulnerability and Health Programme at the WHO Regional Office for Europe stated.

During the ceremony -presented by the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Ana Laguna and organized by the UA Interuniversity Institute for Social Development and Peace ( IUDESP ) and the Faculty of Health Sciences- the "WHO Collaborating Centre on Social Inclusion and Health" has been presented by Daniel La Parra, project manager and researcher at the IUDESP.

Among the events planned during his tenure in Alicante, Piroska Östlin will meet tomorrow, Friday, 27 September, the UA President , Manuel Palomar, to deliver to him a copy of the letter of appointment of the Interuniversity Institute for Social Development and Peace ( UA - UJI ) as a WHO Collaborating Center, assigned a year ago to support their work in vulnerability and health.

 

Piroska Östlin

Programme Manager of the Vulnerability and Health Programme, WHO Regional Office for Europe since February 2012. She is associate professor at the Institute of Public Health Karolinska in Sweden and holds a Doctor’s degree in Medicine from the University of Uppsala. During the last ten years, she has been working for the World Health Organization (WHO) as a special advisor on social and health and gender equity and health. Östlin was the coordinator of two working groups in WHO (in 2004 and 2009) on research priorities for Equity in Health. Among other positions, from 2001 to 2010, she was a member of the Council of the European Institute of Women's Health. Her publications include topics on gender inequality, equity and other international health issues: “Gender Inequalities in Health: A Swedish Perspective”, Harvard University Press, 2001, “Engendering International Health; The Challenge of Equity”, MIT Press, 2002, y “Gender Equity in Health: The Shifting Frontiers of Evidence and Action”, Routledge, 2010.

 

Related article:

 The WHO appoints the University Institute for Social Development and Peace as a collaborating centre

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