Combatting inequalities in healthcare: a first step towards health equity for Roma

Online Discussion

8 April 2021

16:00 - 17:10 CET


Roma – the largest ethnic minority in Europe – remain the most excluded and marginalized population within the European Union facing multiple social and economic barriers leading to severe inequalities in health. Recent studies have demonstrated persistent disparities between Roma and the general population in many European countries, resulting in poor health of entire communities, generational and child poverty.

Victims of anti-gypsyism – a specific form of racism –Roma struggle to access equally health services and this has long-term effects on the health status of Roma communities. In many European countries, such disparities have systemic character and are rooted in structural discrimination leading to lower access to health coverage, healthcare and prevention.

As a result, Roma face higher mortality rates, premature death and live on average 10 years shorter compared with the general population. The recent pandemic hitting hard vulnerable groups, revealed the extent of health inequalities between Roma and non-Roma by lessening their access to healthcare, including medical follow-up but also protection and prevention in COVID19.

Our policy dialogue with the Fundamental Rights Agency and Equinet discussed the factors responsible for systemic inequalities that Roma face in health, including human rights protection; reflected on the socio-economic aspects of the pandemic and their consequences for Roma health; as well exploring policy solutions which could ensure better health for all.

Event Presentations


16.00-16:05 | Welcome and Opening Remarks

Sascha Marschang, Deputy Director, European Public Health Alliance

16:05-16:55 | Panel Discussion

Angelika Grabher-Wusche, EU Fundamental Rights Agency : COVID-19 and health inequalities between Roma and non Roma: causes and solutions 

Tamás Kádár, Deputy Director and Head of Legal and Policy, Equinet  : The role of national equality bodies for tackling inequalities in health: what is needed for advancing healthy and fair societies in COVID19 and beyond 

Marek Szilvasi, PhD., Team Manager, Race, Ethnicity and Health Equity team, Open Society Foundations’ Public Health Program : Prioritisation of Roma health in COVID19-challenges and perspectives 

16:55-17:05 | Questions and Answers
17:05-17:10: Closing Remarks and Conclusion

Isabela Mihalache Senior Policy Officer at ERGO Network


Radost Zaharieva

Policy coordinator Health inequalities, EPHA

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