In order to raise awareness of the Roma population about the importance of prevention and vaccination against the COVID-19 virus, from April to June 2021, outdoor information workshops will be organized in 54 settlements in 18 local governments. Workshops on prevention, immunization and recovery from coronavirus will be conducted by experts from the Institute of Public Health of Serbia "Dr. Milan Jovanovic Batut", within the program of German development cooperation "Inclusion of Roma and other marginalized groups in Serbia", implemented by GIZ, in cooperation with NALED and the Association of Roma Coordinators.
The first outdoor workshops were held in 3 Roma settlements on the territory of Novi Pazar in the presence of about 80 adults, of which approximately were 30 women and at least as many children. In two settlements, middle-aged men, adolescents and young mothers with children predominated, while in the third, women were the most represented. In each settlement, there was interest in the discussion, and the questions were mostly related to vaccination and the obligation to wear masks and keep a distance. In addition to information about the virus and the importance of immunization, the gathered Roma received practical advice from our colleagues for the proper application of other preventive measures - hand washing and use of masks - said Verica Jovanovic, director of the Institute of Public Health of Serbia "Dr. Milan Jovanovic Batut".
Outdoor workshops are expected in the coming period for Roma in Vranje, Aleksinac, Pirot, Krusevac, Kragujevac, Subotica, Apatin, Bac, Belgrade, Kraljevo, New Belgrade, Pozarevac, Raska, Sombor, Valjevo, Vrsac and Zvezdara.
- Unavailability of information may be one of the reasons for the poor response of Roma to vaccination. Through education in 54 settlements, we want the experts of the Institute of Public Health of Serbia to provide them with all relevant data and point out the need for prevention and the benefits of immunization. For the same purpose, together with colleagues from the Institute, we prepared brochures for participants in Serbian and Romani, which contain information on diseases and types of prevention. The vaccine is currently the most effective tool we have at our disposal in the fight against the pandemic, and it must be available to all under equal conditions - considers Robert Bu, team leader of the German development cooperation project "Inclusion of Roma and other marginalized groups in Serbia".
According to him, in addition to informing about the benefits of immunization, it is equally important to work on eliminating technical difficulties that prevent the vaccination of Roma.
- Although most Serbian citizens get the vaccine quickly and easily, with just a few clicks on the eGovernment portal, this can be challenging for the Roma population. A large number of Roma still live in very difficult conditions and do not have access to computers, smartphones and the Internet, so it is difficult for them to get information and express interest in any of the offered vaccines - adds Bu.
Educational workshops on the topic of prevention, immunization and recovery from the COVID-19 virus are part of a broader project of German development cooperation "Inclusion of Roma and other marginalized groups in Serbia" implemented by GIZ. NALED is in charge of their implementation within the project "Improvement of living conditions of Roma and other marginalized groups in 18 local government units", together with the Association of Roma Coordinators.
04.09.2020The overall objective of the Project is to reduce the vulnerability of the most...Read more