The Presence of Health-Risk Behaviour in Roma Family
Roma people in B&H are a marginalised population group. Their health condition; is considerably worse than the condition of other population groups. The health problems of Roma people correlate with inadequate living and dwelling conditions. Roma children are facing the impossibility of being health care beneficiaries, because their parents are unemployed. The objective of this survey was to examine the family surrounding of children in age up to 8 years, including the social conditions under which they live and the presence of health risk behaviour. The research presents a descriptive cross-section study. We interviewed 1100 non-Roma parents and children and 383 Roma parents and children (in the communities of domicile Roma people) in B&H Federation. The results obtained indicate that only 17,8 % of Roma parents are secondary-school leavers, while remaining percentage covers those with incomplete primary school or without education at all, against 63,6% of non-Roma parents who have secondary education. The parents consider themselves good providers for their children (59,3% of Roma parents and 75% of non-Roma parents often play with their children). The Roma parents seek for medical attention for their children only in the cases when urgent health problems occur, such as fever/increased body temperature (one-half of the interviewed parents) or diarrhoea (31,9%). Physical punishment of children occurs more frequently in Roma families (23,7% - this is only the top of an iceberg) then in non-Roma families (11,4%). The parents usually beat children by using their hands or punish them by flogging. The domestic violence is accepted amongst Roma people and it has most sever impact on children, who suffer emotionally and physically. In the future, it will be necessary to create the kind of family environment that would enable improvement of health condition and decrease the behaviour that endangers the health of children.