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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care
Title Challenges in sexual and reproductive health of Roma people who live in settlements in Serbia
Volume 20
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 101-109
URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13625187.2014.957825
Objective To investigate the differences in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) between Roma women of reproductive age who live in settlements and the general population of women of the same age in Serbia who do not live in settlements.

Methods The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 4 (MICS4) was administered to Roma and Serbian women and the results were compared between the two groups. In order to get a qualitative perspective, a specifically designed, short open-ended questionnaire about Roma women was given to Roma Health Mediators (RHMs).

Results Roma women have a higher total fertility rate and adolescent birth rate, and early marriage is much more common among them. Differences are less clear regarding antenatal care and assistance during delivery from skilled personnel. Roma women more frequently rely on traditional contraception, and are less likely to use modern contraceptives than the general female population. Problems in the socio-economic sphere, poor school enrolment and maintenance of traditional patterns in Roma people living in settlements contribute to the disparities observed.

Conclusion Although data on the SRH of the general population of women in Serbia are far from being satisfactory, those for women who live in Roma settlements are much worse. Political actions aimed at the empowerment of Roma women in the spheres of education, employment and health promotion have been implemented with the hope that they might improve the SRH of this vulnerable population group.

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