06.11.2008The Bulgaria Minister of Health took the engagement for the establishment of a Consultative council on minority/Roma health issues at the Ministry of health

Representatives of nongovernmental organizations working in the field of health integration of Roma met the Bulgarian Minister of Health Evgenij Zhelev MD. The meeting took place on November 5, 2008. It was organized following an open letter sent to teh Minister by the organizations at the beginning of October. Representatives of "World without Border" - Stara Zagora, Center Amalipe - Veliko Turnovo, Minority Health Problems Foundation - Sofia, Health and Social Development Foundation and Deyan Kolev as Deputy Chair of the National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Demographic Issues took part in reg meeting.

Dr. Zhelev received information about the work of the non-governmental organizations for improving the health status of Roma. It was underlined that serious record of mutual cooperation between NGOs and teh Ministry of Health has been accumulated already in regard to fight with TB, HIV/AIDS and for improving the general epideomological situation in the country. The Minister of Health highly assessed the achievements of the Roma organizations. He stressed that their role is crucial for transmitting the information and activities between the regional structures of the Ministry of Health and the different Roma communities.

The opportunity for further supporting the work of the Roma health mediators in the communities will ne discussed together with the Ministry of Finance in order to provide sustainability of the initiative and the activities for prevention.

Minister Zhelev expressed his support for establishing a Consultative council at the Ministry of Health and for finding the best way for Roma representation and participation in policy-making of programs and policies for Roma health or having an impact on Roma health situation. Deyan Kolev underlined that the establishment of a Consultative council would not be in contradiction to the National Council for Cooperation in Ethnic and Demographic Issues. It would rather support the creating of straightforward policies for health integration of the Roma community. Minister Zhelev agreed that the two structures would not be in contradiction and he would do his best to speed up the creation of the Consultative council. The next steps from here on will be to discuss and agree on its structure, mandate and activities.


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