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With a series of regional and international events on topics of social significance, during May, the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia (FOSM) marked the 25th anniversary of its existence. At these events, participants from Macedonia and abroad discussed important topics such as Macedonia’s EU entry, legal strengthening, health of the Roma, freedom and the Internet, youth and open society, educational reforms, the power of art and culture for social changes, as well as the future and perspectives of the open society in Macedonia.

Association ROMA S.O.S. participated actively in some of these events, promoting the results of the successful work in their areas of action.

⇒ 7th – 8th May, 2018, Conference “Legal needs of marginalized communities in Macedonia”;

At the two-day international conference on legal strengthening, lawyers, domestic and foreign experts, representatives of international civic society organizations and the non-governmental sector, discussed the problems that members of marginalized communities face in the institutional realization of their rights, especially for their access to justice. Participants at the conference proposed ideas and solutions for implementing policies for marginalized communities.

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Marina Jovanovska, jurist, participated in the last panel session titled “Legal aid models in Macedonia” where she presented strategic advocacy for violations of Roma health care rights – a tool used in combination with others, as part of the broader Advocacy strategy, in order to build a base of cases on the subject law, strengthen the ruling of the law, test the existing law and strengthen the marginalized groups. Association ROMA S.O.S. has been implementing this model since 2010, and so far it has resulted in more positive court verdicts, two of which are precedents in Macedonian judicial practice.

10th May, 2018, Conference “Health of Roma in the Republic of Macedonia: access, challenges and opportunities for its improvement”

What was discussed during the conference was the unequal treatment of Roma by healthcare workers, their inability to provide prescribed medicines and to pay for hospital expenses, lack of adequate doctors and gynecologists near places of their residence, high infant mortality rate as part from the problems of Roma in the public health system. Representatives of the Ministry of Health, Roma non-governmental organizations, experts and medical students spoke at the conference.

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The executive director, Nesime Salioska, moderated the first panel session “We are all people, health care for everyone regardless of ethnicity”, in which speakers were as follows: Maja Bojadzievska (Chairman of the Board of Directors, FOSM), Marek Silvashi (Public Health Program , FENO), Venko Filipce (Minister of Health of the Republic of Macedonia), Borjan Pavlovski (Association for Emancipation, Solidarity and Equality of Women – ESE) and Fatima Osmanovska (President of the Council of the Municipality of Shuto Orizari).

She opened the conference with the motto “Healthcare system that will provide health for all!”, emphasizing the importance of ensuring equal access of Roma to health services, targeting all involved parties: state and local institutions, private institutions, and of course the civil society.

During the discussion, she highlighted the fact that researches and analyzes of the situation on the field have been done for years, recommendations for improvement of the situation have been given to the Government, but apart from the adoption of strategies and action plans on paper, their application in practice is almost always missing. One of the problems that Roma patients have long been facing is the advance payment which is imposed as a condition for hospital treatment, contrary to all laws in the field of health care.

 

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Vesna Shapkoski, project coordinator, participated in the third panel session “Innovative approaches for promotion of the health and access to health services for the Roma”, where she presented the approach of changing the narratives for the Roma in the areas of healthcare, which the association has been implementing for the third year in its work. Through this approach, several different creative methods and interactive involvement of Roma patients and healthcare workers in the promotion of mutual communication and interaction have been used, and hence improving the quality of health services provided/received.

 

33105805_10155272872130800_2945452158864064512_n21st -22nd May, 2018, final conference “Does an open society stand any chance in Macedonia?”

At the closing conference that finalized the three-week working celebration of the 25th anniversary of FOSM’s operations in Macedonia, representatives of the civil society, state institutions, the media, academic and international community discussed potentials and opportunities, as well as the challenges of the open society, what are the perspectives of citizens and institutions regarding this, what they should do to encourage and sustain the values ​​that make the open society.