Serdzat Idic is one of the 15 health mediators which are a part of the project of the Ministry of health and the civil sector. The project of the health mediators is being implemented in eight municipalities: Suto Orizari, Karpos, Tetovo, Gostivar, Bitola, Prilep, Kocani and Stip.
Serdzat Idic is a health mediator from Kocani. He is one of the 15 health mediators which are a part of the project of the Ministry of Health and the civil sector. The project is in the spirit of the implementation of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005 – 2015 and the Strategy for Roma in the Republic of Macedonia. The project of the health mediators if being implemented in eight municipalities: Suto Orizari, Karpos, Tetovo, Gostivar, Bitola, Prilep, Kocani and Stip. The project has a goal to overcome the barriers in the communication between the Roma population and the health workers, identifying the persons and the families who don’t have an access to health protection through field visits and their informing about the access to health protection and health insurance, as well as informing them about the accessibility to the free health services.
EDNO: What does it mean to be a health mediator?
Serdzat Idic: After the for health mediators, our first task was to open family cards for all the families in the Roma district. After that, we needed to register all the data for the families from a health aspect. After we went through most of the families, we started working more with the families which don’t vaccinate their children regularly, with the women which don’t go to regular check-ups, we go to visits with the patronage women in the Roma district and we convince them get health cards, because they are known to prolong things. We accompany them when they apply for health cards, birth certificates and insurance.
EDNO: Which part of your obligations is the hardest to accomplish, raising awareness, or…?
The most common problem is with the same people, which are the people who don’t go to regular check-ups and don’t vaccinate their children regularly. And the women which don’t go to check-ups because they are charged. The Health Fond told us which check-ups are free of charge, we gave that information to the people, but still they are being charged.
EDNO: Do you work simultaneously with the institutions and the hospitals?
Serdzt Idic: Yes.
EDNO: Do you point out these things to them?
Serdzat Idic: The institutions know, but they are connected with each other, and in Kocani everyone works as they please. As if there are no rules. And we have reacted. For example, we reacted because they charge for the inhalations for children. These examinations should be free of charge, but they are still being charged. In Kocani we don’t have a problem with the health insurance. We have a problem with lost health cards. There are Roma who don’t have money to pay for certain services, and the hospitals detain their cards, although it is illegal. When the mothers get out of the hospitals, they provide a new card.
EDNO: Are there any changes since you started your work as a health mediator one year ago?
Serdzat Idic: It is different when a Roma person enters in a Roma neighborhood, and different when it is non-Roma. Out of respect for us and for their own well being, they started to care more, to choose a family doctor, to take their children for vaccines regularly and the women go for gynecological examinations. We inform them about the deadlines for applying for health insurance, etc. They started to become more aware, one year after the inclusion of the health mediators.
EDNO: Do you have any informative materials from the Ministry of Health?
Serdzat Idic: No, we don’t. They were supposed to give us badges. We had training and went on the site in Suto Orizari. We were supposed to be introduced with the law regulations, but that doesn’t apply in practice.
EDNO: What is being applied in particular?
Serdzat Idic: Well, the law regulation is the one that is not being put in practice the most.
EDNO: Is the Law for protection of the rights of the patients respected or is it the one of the most violated laws?
Serdzat Idic: Yes, I believe that the rights of the patients are the most endangered
EDNO: What is your impression – do the health reforms change often and are you regularly informed about this?
Serdzat Idic: I think that they get changed often, but we are the last to know. It takes quite a time until we get information what is new.
EDNO: Do you have a right to react when some procedures are unable to be put in practice, on the field?
Serdzat Idic: We have the right and we have reacted, but nothing is changed.
EDNO: What have you reacted about?
Serdzat Idic: We were told that the inhalations for children are free of charge. We went to the family doctors and they told us that they themselves buy the equipment and they have to return their investment in some way. The doctors didn’t use to give receipts for every examination. At least in that aspect we managed to raise the awareness of the Roma population.
EDNO: Is there a health strategy in Kocani?
Serdzat Idic: There is, but not in practice. It was prepared even before we started working as mediators.