Most of the women who were present on the meeting complained that they do not receive the same services from their personal gynecologists as the rest of the patients – from the meeting of the team of NRC with 18 women from Kumanovo
Some personal gynecologists do not act in the same way toward all of their patients. Many of the Roma women from Kumanovo are not informed which gynecological services are free of charge and why they must pay them as private services. Many of them don’t know their blood type and their RH-factor, or their rights as patients. These are part of the conclusions from the testimonies from 18 Roma women from Kumanovo, who had a meeting with representatives from the National Roma Centrum (NRC) on June 19th. The reason behind the meeting was to introduce the women to the advocacy project, their rights during pregnancy, their relationship with their personal gynecologists, the services guaranteed to them by law and other regulations. And also, to inform them about their responsibilities as patients (i.e. the responsibility to go regularly to the gynecologist, first of all for their own and their children’s health, and then because of the legal obligations of the mothers with three or more children, according to the campaign for a third child of the government of the Republic Macedonia).
Most of the women complained that they don’t receive the same services as the other patients from their personal gynecologists. Only one of the women present on the meeting said that she doesn’t have a gynecologist and that she hasn’t been to one in 18 years. The last time she went to a gynecologist was when she gave birth to her third child. All of the women have health insurance and are informed about the new electronic health cards.
All of the women would like to visit their gynecologists more often, but they can’t afford t because of their financial situation. Five of the women receive financial social help from the state.
Most of the women don’t know their RH-factor, and the pregnant women determined it at their gynecologist. Only one woman knew what folic acid is. They have two-three kids on average.
Almost none of them knew that they have a right to one free PAP test during a year. The rest had not heard about this because no one informed them. Many of the women stated that there are gynecologists who charge them for their gynecological services, although they have a pricelist and a list of free examinations. Furthermore, the prices are different for different patients. There were cases when the gynecologists were bargaining the prices on the phone. Some of the women said that they had to be rude in order to receive better services and pay less.
Only 4 out of 18 women were accompanied by their husbands to the gynecologist’s office while they were pregnant. There was a case when one husband was allowed to be present while his wife was giving birth, because his previous wife died during the childbirth. Four women gave birth by caesarean section.
The women liked the purpose of the project, since the examinations are really expensive and they can’t visit the gynecologist regularly. They would like to have these meetings more often, but with a gynecologist present, so that they could get more information.
The text is written with the help from Martina Asanovska, assistant on the project “From increased voice to the improved health care access“. The meeting was also attended by Katerina Sojic, a lawyer in NRC and a legal councilor in the project “From increased voice to the improved health care access“.