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      Access to primary healthcare services for the Roma population in Serbia: a secondary data analysis

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          Serbia has proclaimed access to healthcare as a human right. In a context wherein the Roma population are disadvantaged, the aim of this study was to assess whether the Roma population are able to effectively access primary care services, and if not, what barriers prevent them from doing so. The history of the Roma in Serbia is described in detail so as to provide a context for their current vulnerable position.


          Disaggregated data were analyzed from three population groups in Serbia; the general population, the Roma population, and the poorest quintile of the general population not including the Roma. The effective coverage framework, which incorporates availability, affordability, accessibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of health services, was used to structure the secondary data analysis. Acute respiratory infection (ARI) in children less than five years of age was used as an example as this is the leading cause of death in children under 5 years old in Serbia.


          Roma children were significantly more likely to experience an ARI than either the general population or the poorest quintile of the general population, not including the Roma. All three population groups were equally likely to not receive the correct treatment regime of antibiotics. An analysis of the factors that affect quality of access to health services reveal that personal documentation is a statistically significant problem; availability of health services is not an issue that disproportionately affects the Roma; however the geographical accessibility and affordability are substantive issues that disproportionately affect the Roma population. Affordability of services affected the Roma and the poorest quintile and affordability of medications significantly affected all three population groups. With regards to acceptability, mothers from all three population groups are equally likely to recognize the importance of seeking treatment.


          The Roma should be assisted in applying for personal documentation, the geographical accessibility of clinics needs to be addressed, and the costs of healthcare visits and medications should be reviewed. Areas for improvement specific to ARI are the costs of antibiotics and the diagnostic accuracy of providers. A range of policy recommendations are outlined.

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          The concepts and principles of equity and health.

           M. Whitehead (1991)
          In 1984, the 32 member states of the World Health Organization European Region took a remarkable step forward in agreeing unanimously on 38 targets for a common health policy for the Region. Not only was equity the subject of the first of these targets, but it was also seen as a fundamental theme running right through the policy as a whole. However, equity can mean different things to different people. This article looks at the concepts and principles of equity as understood in the context of the World Health Organization's Health for All policy. After considering the possible causes of the differences in health observed in populations--some of them inevitable and some unnecessary and unfair--the author discusses equity in relation to health care, concentrating on issues of access to care, utilization, and quality. Lastly, seven principles for action are outlined, stemming from these concepts, to be borne in mind when designing or implementing policies, so that greater equity in health and health care can be promoted.
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            Access, utilization, quality, and effective coverage: an integrated conceptual framework and measurement strategy.

            Health systems can primarily improve the health of individuals and populations by delivering high-quality interventions to those who may benefit from them. We propose a concept of effective coverage as the probability that individuals will receive health gain from an intervention if they need it. Understanding the extent to which health systems are delivering key interventions to those who will benefit from them and the factors that explain gaps in delivery are a critical input to decision-making at the local, national and global levels. We develop an integrated conceptual framework for monitoring and analyzing the delivery of high-quality interventions to those who need them. This framework can help clarify the inter-relationships between notions of access, demand for care, utilization, and coverage on the one hand and highlight the requirements for health information systems that can sustain this type of analysis. We discuss measurement strategies and demonstrate the concept by means of a simple simulation model.
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              Applying clinical epidemiological methods to health equity: the equity effectiveness loop.


                Author and article information

                BMC Int Health Hum Rights
                BMC International Health and Human Rights
                BioMed Central
                18 August 2011
                : 11
                : 10
                [1 ]Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
                [2 ]Director of Orvill Adams & Associates Incorporated, Health Systems Policy and Workforce Planning, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
                [3 ]Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
                [4 ]Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
                Copyright ©2011 Idzerda et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Health & Social care


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