Taking Stock of Roma Health Policies in Spain: Lessons for Health Governance

Referencia: Escobar-Ballesta, M., García-Ramírez, M., & De Freitas, C. (in press). Taking stock of Roma health policies in Spain: Lessons for health governance. Health Policy. doi:

Resumen: Roma health inequities are a wicked problem. Despite concerted efforts to reduce them under the Decade of Roma Inclusion initiative, the health gap between Roma and non-Roma populations in Europe persists. To address this problem, the European Commission devised the National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS). This paper provides a critical assessment of the implementation of the NRIS’ health strand (NRIS-H) in Spain and proposes an evaluation tool to monitor Roma health policies – the Roma Health Integration Policy Index (RHIPEX). It also makes recommendations to promote Roma health governance. To achieve these goals, four community forums, 33 stakeholder interviews and a scoping review were conducted.

Results show that the NRIS-H implementation is hindered by lack of political commitment and poor resource allocation. This has a negative impact on Roma’s entitlement to healthcare and on their participation in decision-making processes, jeopardising the elimination of the barriers that undermine their access to healthcare and potentially contributing to reproduce inequalities. These unintended effects point out the need to rethink Roma health governance by strengthening intersectional and intersectoral policies, enabling transformative Roma participation in policymaking and guaranteeing shared socio-political responsibility and accountability.

Palabras clave: Roma, Health policy, Policy assessment, Governance, Migration and health, Spain, Wicked problem.

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