Health of migrants and ethnic minorities - medical and social aspects in Bulgaria
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Medical University-Pleven, Pleven, Bulgaria
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1389
Background: Migrants and ethnic minorities (MEM) often face serious inequities concerning their state of health and their access to health services. These inequities are increasingly being brought to light by public health researchers, but action to tackle them has lagged behind. Objective: To explore medico-social problems of migrants and persons of Roma origin, aspects of their health care and effects of the COVID-19 epidemic among the Roma ethnic group in Bulgaria. Materials and Methods: A complex observational cross-sectional study and participatory health research have been conducted. The migrant and minority status of the covered persons as factors determining the health risk factors and the preparedness of the health system in Bulgaria to respond to specific health problems of MEM was analysed. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through an unstructured interview. Summary criteria for reporting qualitative research: COREQ - checklist was used. Data processing was performed by SPSS v.24. Results: The study confirms the hypotheses: Roma population is characterized by an unfavourable risk constellation and an unfavourable health profile; the health services provided to the persons of Roma origin are inadequate to their needs; the opinion of the citizens of Roma origin about the effect of the anti-epidemic measures on their lives is negative; the health system in the country is not prepared to meet the health needs of migrants. The study does not confirm the hypothesis that the opinion of the society and front line specialist is that health status of migrants does not affect negatively public health in Bulgaria. Conclusions: Negative aspects in health status and in the distribution of health determinants are more common among MEM in Bulgaria. In order to establish MEM friendly health system and to improve the quality of services provided development and enhance skills of professionals working at local level is crucial.