Knowledge of the culture, traditions and values of the Roma is important for understanding their relationship to health and the health system. The Roma in Prekmurje, the far northeastern part of Slovenia, are a unique ethnic group and in many respects different from other Roma. The aim of the study was to determine their attitudes towards health and the healthcare system.
Methods and materials
We conducted 25 interviews in Roma settlements. The participants were between 18 and 64 years of age, with the average age being 23.46 years old; 48 % were men and 52 % women. We used qualitative content analysis as the data analysis technique. As a tool to facilitate the qualitative data analysis, we used the software Atlas.ti. In the study, we used a data-driving coding scheme. Two independent coders carried out the coding.
We determined eight logical categories that explain the attitudes of the Roma towards health, satisfaction, problems and prospects and the functioning of the health system at the local level. These are experiences with the healthcare system, personal healthcare, the perception of health and illness, suggestions for improvement, common diseases as perceived by the Roma, poverty and socioeconomic status of the Roma, discrimination and the need for a better understanding of the Roma.
Roma culture and their customs affect the Roma’s relationship with health and the healthcare services in Prekmurje. The Roma are willing to participate in health status improvement, but require special attention within the national healthcare system.