Based on the Law on Healthcare of the Republic of Serbia, as part of improving the health and healthcare of groups of the population exposed to increased risk of disease, since 2008 the Ministry of Health has been supporting the project of introducing healthcare mediators in the healthcare system of the Republic of Serbia. A healthcare mediator is not a medical professional (doctor, nurse), they only connect the healthcare system and citizens from informal settlements. In the selection of healthcare mediators the Ministry of Health gave priority to Roma women who are mothers and live in Roma settlements. Having in mind that they are in daily communication with the Roma community, they provide a significant contribution to the work of the mobile team for Roma inclusion. A total of 85 mediators have been hired across 70 municipalities in the Republic of Serbia.
A healthcare mediator performs the following duties:
- Maintain records on the health status of residents of informal settlements;
- Work with them on raising awareness on the need for vaccinating children and the importance of correct nutrition and hygienic habits;
- Provide better insight for healthcare institutions into the state of informal settlements and informing the residents of the importance of timely visits to the doctor.