What we do

Project: Building capacities for monitoring human trafficking in marginalized communities
Platform for Support of Health of Disadvantaged Groups is in a daily contact with the inhabitants of segregated disadvantaged communities through the Roma Health Mediators. The topic of human trafficking is not openly discussed in the communities, however, Health Mediator often hear about suspicious job offers for young girls abroad or adoptions of children without proper involvement of state institutions. At present there are no numbers that would tell us whether the human trafficking is truly a serious problem in disadvantaged communities.
This project aims to prepare the environment, conditions, and networks for proper monitoring of the situation in the future so the state institutions could approach this issue effectively.
Project activities will focus on workshops and trainings for HMs in the following areas:
  •  Raising awareness about human trafficking, prevention of risk behavior;
  •  Building capacities for collecting up-todate information about trafficking in the marginalized communities;
  •  Migration and risks related to migration;
  •  Trafficking of women and children;
  •  Raising awareness about available services for trafficking victims home and abroad and related information.
Higher awareness of the problem in the communities and creating the networks for future monitoring are the first but important steps towards deeper understanding of the human trafficking in Slovakia.
Main aim of the project is to train people to be able to identify the problem in case they will encounter it in the location where they work. Higher awareness and establishment of networks for in-depth monitoring of this phenomenon are the first basic steps towards realistically assessing the situation of human trafficking in hard-to-monitor segregated settlements in Slovakia.

"Project Building capacities for monitoring human trafficking in marginalized communities is supported by the amount of 4.986,-EUR  from the NGO Fund financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism 2009-2014. Administrator of the Fund is Nadácia otvorenej spoločnosti - Open Society Foundation. Main aim of the project Building capacities for monitoring human trafficking in marginalized communities is the empowerment of vulnerable groups"


Platform began to employ health edification assistants

On 7 October 2013 108 health edification assistants and 12 coordinators began with their work. The first 40 employees completed the 1. training module in June, another 80 in October. Their first task was to find out basic information about the locality in which they work: population, number of children, number of children studying in elementary, special and secondary schools, addresses of doctors and medical facilities in their catchment area and first experiences with the establishment of cooperation with mayor. After completion of training they immediately established cooperation with physicians, who welcomed this initiative. In most localities began the process of inviting to vaccination and preventive examinations.

Within the first few weeks assistants ensured a number of activities in localities aimed at improving the health of the inhabitants of settlements. In one settlement the vaccination took place in the room, suitable for the physician to carry out vaccination, provided by mayor. In several municipalities assistants reported 100% participation in vaccination. In all locations together there were more than 1300 invitations sent for preventive inspections and more than 1400 invitations sent for vaccinations. Assistants ensured that the invited will participate. Assistants carried out approximately 1250 interventions. Coordinators continuously visit assistants in the field and help them with initial difficulties.  

We spread awareness in order to improve health

Assistants perform edification in families focused on eating habits, alcohol prevention, food sanitation, substance abuse, prevention of infectious and parasitic diseases, etc. They established cooperation with schools, which they visit at agreed intervals. They spread awareness among children and youth about personal hygiene, reproductive health and prevention of substance abuse. In some locations, the space for educational activitites was provided by mayors or community centers.  

Assistant helped newborn

Department of Child Protection of Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family contacted assistant about the case of a mother of newborn, who left the hospital right after giving birth. The child was released home later. This several days is sometimes enough for the mother to lose her ability to breastfeed and the child is then dependent on artificial feeding.

Concerned mother began to feed the newborn with ordinary powdered milk, which was cheaper, but unsuitable for newborn and even diluted in wrong ratio. The child was repeatedly hospitalized due to malnutrition. Assistant oversees the transition to appropriate nutrition and correct dilution of prescribed milk as well as everyday supplementary feeding. Help of the assistant led to improvement of proper development of the newborn and saved the family from social guardianship. After this experience an employee of Department of Child Protection proposed, that the assistant should carry out this type of edification preventively directly in families.

Assistants helped the RAPH to deal with outbreaks of infectious diseases

The RAPH asked Platform for help in mass vaccination of children in locality with the incidence of hepatitis A. Two assistants were released from training that was in progress to help medical staff with vaccination. Later the RAPH asked Platform to help resolve mass scabies infection in locality with no health assistant. The nearest stationed assistant who knows the inhabitants of the affected locality helped the RAPH.


Assistant saved a life

Assistant was called to an accident by inhabitants of the village where she operates. Young man injured his forearm in a fall and was bleeding from artery. Bystanders were not able to dress his wound right - they tied a scarf above his wound, which did not stop the bleeding. Assistant immediately used her newly acquired knowledge and skills in first aid, that she learned at the training secured by Emergency Service of Slovakia. She pressed onto the wound, bandaged it correctly and called the emergency. By doing this she saved the man from exsanguination.  

Assistants can identify epidemic

After completion of the training focused on parasitic and infectious diseases, assistants were immediately able to recognize them in their settlements.

            In cooperation with physicians of Regional Regional Authority of Public Health there were even recognized epidemics. The epidemic of scabies appeared in three locations. In cooperation with physician, mayor and principalship they purchased the necessary medicine to prevent further spread of infection. Bedbug epidemic was reported by assistants in two localities. Disinfestation will be done in partnership with the mayor or RAPH (Regional Authority of Public Health). In several municipalities assistants reported occurence of lice. 

            In ten localities assistants reported incidence of hepatitis A or B.

            In four localities assistants reported incidence of TBC, in one of syphilis and another one HIV.

            In two localities they reported a large number of lost, relatively aggresive dogs, who were dangerous for people.  


Drinking water is not certainty

Availability of drinking water is a major concern in many localities. In one locality, ​​the drinking water is provided only in one part of the village, while in another there is water-supply. However, this water supply is polluted by sewage and dirty water from surrounding fields. Assistants from other localities reported damaged or broken water pumps, or suspicion of contaminated drinking water. Inhabitants of the segregated settlement have to go further for water, which they carry in plastic containers. Its bitter flavor showed that this water is not drinkable, so the assistant started to address this problem. There were also cases of total absence of water. 

Inhabitants of settlements are starting to perceive assistants as helpers in many areas

There are also non-standard cases during work. Assistant also helped to solve the social situation of hearing impaired citizen with no income. In another village assistant helped to solve the situation of mentally handicapped citizen, who did not have medical records or insurance card for 20 years. Different assistant at another locality helps suicidal young person with mental health problems by regularly talking to him.  

Assistant provided psychological support to victims of fire

On the night of 6- 7 October  a fire broke out in one of the villages that led to burning of several houses. Assistant immediately contacted the fire department and the mayor. The fire was extinguished by about 3 PM. Fortunately, there were no injuries, but the assistant had to provide immediate psychological support to several victims of fire.

Temporary jobs in the settlements on the initiative of assistants

There was a problem with excessive waste in one settlement, so assistant requested help from mayor in removing it. The mayor provided several employees on activation works, who helped to remove the bags filled with waste. Soon after that the assistant continued in cleaning of the settlement and organized other people. They cleaned the stream and their surroundings. A similar initiative has been developed by an assistant from another locality. Different assistant contacted the headmistress of elementary school, who after a conversation, ensured that the missing basins will be installed in school. 

Food aid from Hipp

The company Hipp Austria provided the Association for Culture, Education and Communication with food aid in the form of high quality food products for children living in excluded communities. The Association secured transporation and the food was distributed through a network of health edification assistants of the Healthy Communities project to the families, where parents are not able to provide their children with quality nutrition.