DIVERSITY ISSUES AND HEALTH EDUCATION WITHIN THE ETHNIC MINORITIES IN BULGARIA
1 Medical University - Sofia, Faculty of Public Health (BULGARIA)
2 South Eastern European Medical Forum (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Poverty among people from the Turkish community in Bulgaria is three times more common than among the Bulgarians, and in the case of Roma people – 11 times higher than that among people of the Bulgarian ethnic community. This directly affects the health of the representatives of these minority communities, most of whom have a poor diet, have much more difficulties providing funds for buying medical services and medications.
The lack of information about and the indifference to the cultural differences and traditions of persons of Roma and Turkish origin by the general practitioners and other medical specialists weaken their contacts with the patients and often cause a large part of the Roma and Turks of poor means and low education to resort to methods of self-treatment.
A study among those two ethnic minorities was undertaken. The results of this study show that most of the children in the neighbourhoods between the age of 2 and 6 are not included in kindergartens. The reasons for this (apart from the shortage of places in kindergartens) are both the children's morbidity and the inability of their parents to see the opportunities provided by kindergartens for the health and development of their children. One of the factors for the low attendance in kindergartens and schools is the existing practice among Roma girls to take care of the younger children in the family, who themselves often become mothers after the age of 14-15.
While persons of Bulgarian and Turkish origin tend to postpone marriage and first child birth, the Roma community retains the trend of very early marriages, first child birth in adolescence and subsequent births with short intervals in between. Early births are a risk factor for fetal prematurity, severe congenital disorders, high child mortality during the first year and the health of the mother. Cohabitation is very common. Some of the young people are underage parents (from 14 to 18). Their level of parenting skills is extremely low and this fact poses a risk to the proper upbringing of their children. Furthermore, due to their social immaturity and premature parental responsibility, these young people make their social exclusion greater, which affects their ability to make responsible decisions regarding their personal and professional development and the development of their children.
The health status of women of Roma and Turkish origin is indirectly affected by their low educational level. The health professionals find it more difficult to give an objective assessment of their health condition because of the poor language knowledge.
Keywords: Roma women and children, cultural differences, ethnic minorities, health education.