For the fifth year, GSK Slovakia supports health assistants in Luník 9.
Luník 9, a municipal district of Košice, is a residential area with 100% Roma inhabitants. Compared to the planned capacity of 2,400, it is a home to almost seven thousand people, including more than two thousand children and just over 350 people older than 60 years. It is a place where a single apartment is occupied by 14 to 16 people and a large proportion of the population are defaulters or debtors. Poor social and hygienic conditions are long overdue problem and the health is a precious article.
Thanks to the program “Spoločne za lepšie zdravie” (Together for Better Health), there are six health assistants working in Luník 9 who provide residents with health care services, raise awareness on hygiene, nutrition, care of new-borns and children and implement activities for the promotion and protection of health. “Thanks to our approach to health promotion based on the work of an assistant in the field, we are able to prevent epidemics, improve access to health care and to promote development among the people,” says Magdaléna Rothová, director of ACEC.
The project has been run from 2012 by the Association for Culture, Education and Communication (ACEC) with financial support from GSK Slovakia. It is an extension of an international project that was born from the initiative of the then Director General of GSK Slovakia Paul van Hoof.
At present, an international platform Together for Better Health brings together partners from Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and the European Public Health Alliance, whose common goal is to improve the health status of Roma in Europe. It focuses on the assistants who are residents of the community. One of the aims of the project is their personal and professional development – a challenging environment in which they work, requires continuous learning and strengthening of motivation. Educational activities include training, lectures, organizing events aimed at health education and hygiene. “With health assistants in Luník 9, GSK is developing a long-time successful international project.
Our goal is to protect public health and improve the health of local residents through the dissemination of health education and health protection and promotion,” emphasizes Katarína Bodnárová, GA Manager at GSK Slovakia. In 2016, the project Together for Better Health project was highlighted by the European Commission as an inspiration for European countries and as an effective health program in the Evaluation Report on National Strategies for Roma Integration. For the excellent cooperation and the involvement of multiple partners, the project was awarded by the European Association of Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry and by Patient Think Tank, Health Collaboration Award 2016 which highly appreciated the focus on the Roma population across Eastern Europe.