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Health assistants to return to Slovak Romany settlements in April

Bratislava, 30.3.2008 22:06, (ROMEA/CTK)

About 30 health assistants are to return to Romany settlements in Slovakia in April, the Health Ministry that funds the project has told CTK.

The ministry has not explained why the programme that many experts consider successful was interrupted for some time.

"Many people were even unable to call a doctor because they do not know well Slovak or they did not have any idea to whom to turn," assistant Zoltan Batka who worked in south-east Slovakia told CTK.

He said education and information supply started to bear fruit and even elderly people started to be more willing to listen to advice and health care recommendations.

Batka said this happened mainly when the people saw the benefit for their children.

The project of health assistants was launched in March 2007 by regional public health care authorities.

The authorities as well well as Anina Botosova, government commissioner for Romany communities, assessed the programme positively, but yet it was interrupted for a few months.

The Health Ministry has never explained the reasons of the interruption. It is not yet clear whether the number of assistants will be raised in the future.

According to previous data, there are more than 600 Romany settlements in Slovakia.

The health assistants and their coordinators were paid last year 11,000 to 15,000 Slovak crowns gross per month.

The

An estimated several hundred thousand Romanies live in Slovakia. A great part of them have a low education, they are unable to find a job and live in bad sanitary conditions.

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