The Rom-H-Quest proposal “Development and introduction of a tool for health-needs assessment and evaluation of health interventions in marginalized Roma communities” for APVV had been submitted in collaboration with our partners at Institute of Ethnology of SAS.
Like elsewhere in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), the real positive impacts of investments and interventions tackling the gap between marginalized Roma communities (MRCs) and the general population in Slovakia remain largely questionable. Where known, the positive impacts are usually rather small and unsustainable in the long run. The ambiguity of the impact of interventions is mainly due to the absence of accurate measurements and evaluations of the effects of specific intervention activities. The small and short term positive effects of interventions are mainly related to the low appropriateness of the interventions due to the generally poor (too imprecise, unreliable, narrow, paternalistic and impractical) assessments of the initial situations, needs and possibilities of the target communities, and to similarly superficial methodologies for creating interventions themselves on the basis of such assessments.
Our interdisciplinary research team, consisting of social-science experts on MRCs from the Institute of Ethnology of SAS and Roma-health experts from UPJŠ Medical Faculty, intends to develop and assist the introduction of a methodical instrument into a specific intervention practice aimed at improving the health situation in MRCs, i.e. an instrument suitable for a comprehensive, rigorous, participative and practical health-needs assessment, and at the same time for an unambiguous evaluation of the impact of health interventions in MRCs. We intend to develop and mediate the instrument specifically for the National Project Healthy Communities (HC), currently implemented by the Healthy Regions, a contributory organization of the Slovak Ministry of Health.
Our methodology is based primarily on an original interdisciplinary synergy, drawing on different approaches and experiences of experts from different fields, fashioning an immediately applicable instrument through and on the basis of an intensive joint field research. The outputs of the proposed research project would enable the HC management to perform a health-needs assessment using its own, unprecedentedly high-quality tool, developed purely on an expert, non-commercial basis and using an innovative transdisciplinary approach. At the same time, our project would present an attractive example of how analogous situations of the absence of adequate methodology can be dealt with more precisely elsewhere in the context of CEE.