On 27 May 2016, 70 health mediators have received certificates of successful completion of training within Professional development programme for health mediators.
Within the “European support for Roma inclusion” Project, funded by the EU and implemented by OSCE Mission to Serbia, health mediators have spent nine months in training comprised of 12 modules. Apart from organised training, project’s activities have also supported drafting of by-laws which will contribute to health mediators being properly included in systematisation of workplaces. Also, bearing in mind their day-to-day communication with Roma community, health mediators make a significant contribution to the work of Roma inclusion mobile teams, set up in 20 towns and municipalities within the “We are here together – European support for Roma inclusion.”
In 2008, the Ministry of Health has established the system of health mediators in order to improve health condition and healthcare protection of the population at heightened health risk. Roma women living in Roma settlements were given preference in the selection process. Health mediators are not medical staff (doctors, nurses) but form a link between healthcare system and members of Roma settlements. Their role is to keep track of health conditions in their community, work with members of their communities to raise awareness about the need to immunise children and importance of healthy diet and good hygiene practices etc.
The concept of health mediators keeps yielding success and remains one of the best practices in the area of Roma inclusion not only in Serbia but also in the region. Healthcare centres across Serbia currently hire 70 health mediators and planned systematisation of their workplace will contribute to the viability of this successful concept.