With high rates of tuberculosis and malnutrition, the Gypsy people of Romania have specific health problems. After working in Romania, John-Paul Smith considers the health difficulties facing this marginalised population
- By: John-Paul Smith
On this hot and sticky mid-summer's day in Bucharest, I am on a tram making its way through the busy streets. A couple board with two young children. Their skin is much darker than everyone else's, and the adults have badly drawn tattoos on their arms of initials alongside cupid's heart. They are unkempt and the other passengers on the tram look away. The children scamper in front of a woman approaching an empty seat and clamber on to it. Instantly recognisable, this family is among the 5-10% of Romanians who are Gypsy (Roma or Rroma) people. Of any country, Romania has the largest proportion of Gypsy people--more than two million.
The politics of social identity and nationality are contentious in today's Europe, and the situation of the Gypsies in Romania is no exception. They have lived in the country for hundreds of years, but are not integrated because of