Background and aims Roma population is a marginalised ethnic group with a low socioeconomic status which contributes to their poor health condition compared with most of the population. The aim of this study was to explore how low socioeconomic status, education, poor hygienic conditions, crowded housing conditions and low vaccination rate influence Roma children’s morbidity.
Methods A prospective questionnaire study, including 61 questions, was performed among Roma children at the Paediatric Clinic no. I Tirgu-Mures, Paediatric Department of Municipal Hospital from Sageorgiu de Padure and in Sangeorgiu de Mures. We included in our investigation a total of 150 gipsy-children compared to 150 non-gipsy children, representing the control group.
Results A total of 24,4% of the mothers were illiterate, 32,7% were smokers, 13,3% consumed alcohol, 41,3% developed a disease during pregnancy. 30% of the children lack vaccination. In 79,3% of the cases houses were heated with wood, in 63,3% there was no tap water, in 70% there was no bathroom and 42,7% of the investigated parents were smoking inside the house. The most frequent diseases were the lower respiratory diseases (29,3%), and neurological and psychiatric disorders (11,3%) as chronic diseases. The occurrence of respiratory and urinary infections was significantly higher in houses without tap water (p=0.008, p=0.029), in those which were heated with wood (p=0.043, p=0.01) and due to lack of proper hygienic conditions gastrointestinal complaints (p=0.047) occured as well.
Conclusions Beside the risk factors identified during pregnancy, poor hygienic and social conditions represent the cause of frequent illneses among Roma children.
- risk factor
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