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There are no forbidden topics, there is only a wish to learn.

The narrative literally refers to the image that we have in our heads for a particular situation or group of people, which almost always determines our beliefs, attitudes and behaviors towards them. This picture may be mistakenly set for certain reasons (stacking of stereotypes and prejudices) and affect the quality of interaction.

The change of the narrative aims to cause positive behavior, better communication and understanding, ie, overcoming the emotional and cognitive obstacles. This change must be subtle and non-invasive, most often through narrative methods and creation of positive examples.

The probability of changing a narrative at a macro level is inversely proportional to the magnitude with which you impose that change!

Association ROMA S.O.S. has been working on this topic for the third year already, by introducing creative and innovative approaches to improving communication in the patient-healthcare worker relationship, and ultimately improving the quality of the health services provided / received.

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⇒Voluntary involvement of Roma patients and healthcare workers in the so-called Monitoring bodies in order to encourage mutual direct communication and consequently create positive activities / cooperation:

Two groups of 20 monitors – Roma and health workers (January-June 2018) were formed and coordinated.

⇒ Producing creative promotional materials for informal informing and transmission of messages about various health issues / problems identified by the monitors to the general public:

2 promotional materials: Calendar for 2018 and flower, distributed in 20 health and other public and private institutions and in about 400 Roma families (June 2018).

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⇒ Educational workshops for a deeper introduction to those issues that give rise to the greatest attention and for which Roma patients have an interest and need to get acquainted:

4 educational workshops on topics of anatomy, sexual and reproductive health and child health care. Included and educated 100 Roma (December 2017 and June 2018).

Friendly dinners with Roma patients and health professionals to foster their relationship in an informal and human dimension, destroying all barriers to positions they have:

2 friendly dinners and covered a total of 40 Roma patients and health workers (July 2017 and January 2018).

⇒ Sharing and exchanging experiences:

23519167_1673005989420709_8004537525200200594_nPrepared a public document for sharing experiences on the work on this topic; promotion on the international seminar “Changing the narratives on Roma in healthcare settings” (October, 2017 Ohrid).

At this seminar, the narration of personal stories as a method of changing negative narratives for Roma in health environments was taught to 40 representatives from several countries in the region, including non-governmental organizations, health workers, activists, medical students and professionals from various regions (Roma and non-Roma). Nesime Salioska was one of the faculty members and, through her personal and professional experience, shared the work of ROMA S.O.S. in the form of a story “The journey from Victim to Advocate: A Feminist Perspective on Individual vs. Collective Needs”.

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Public debate “Changing narratives on Roma in healthcare settings is a difficult process” (April 2018, Skopje), where Vesna Shapkoski shared the experiences and lessons learned from the work on this issue, as well as the views on how the narrative  changes for a particular target group.

 

The negative narrative is a consequence, it is necessary to work on its cause!