The Romani and Healthcare

A paper which introduces culture of the Romani people, sometimes known as gypsies, and focuses on how their medical needs are met in the United States.

The paper traces the history of the Romani people who left Asia around 1000 years ago and follows the wanderings around the globe, especially to the United States. It describes the common attributes to the diverse Romani groups around the world, their common language and their views on health, sanitation and diet. The paper then discusses how medical personnel should consider Romani culture and beliefs when treating them and how an understanding of this culture can lead to improved health for this colorful ethnic group.
“At old age, after menopause for women, most of the regulations regarding cleanliness are relaxed. The aged are venerated and respected by the Roma. They are considered politically and socially powerful and enjoy a clean status. When in contact with a Roma, or a group of Romani, it is always wise for a medical professional to take advantage of the respect and veneration that Roma have for the aged. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals should seek out the older people, as a sign of respect, and because they exert so much influence over those younger then they are. If a medical professional can convince an older member of the group that the medical treatment is necessary, the younger person will follow the wishes of the older person in taking their treatments (Kemp, 2001).”