Kilkenny Traveller Health Care
The Kilkenny Traveller Community Care Project was established in response to the growing health needs affecting the Traveller Community in Co Kilkenny.
Past reports have highlighted the health needs and issues that the Primary Health Team will be addressing. One such report stated that Traveller men lived on average ten years less than their settled peers. The Irish Sudden Infant Death Association found that the differential in the rates of Sudden Infant deaths among Travellers was twelve times the rate among the settled population. Another finding stated that 34% of Traveller women suffered long term depression which compares to a 9% level of depression among settled women.
This programme provided three and a half years training and six months of work preparation skills to 12 Traveller women to equip them with the skills and experience necessary to provide primary health care suitable to meet the needs of the Kilkenny Traveller community. This training includes literacy and numeracy skills, Community Development, Health Awareness, Primary Health Care, communications, personal and interpersonal skills and diversity in Ireland. Subsequent to this course 5 Traveller women were employed by Kilkenny LEADER Partnership(KLP) as Traveller community health workers. Their role includes delivering health messages to their peers. Recent successful health projects and awareness training includes the Car seat safety awareness day, MMR Booster Drive, meningitis training and cancer screening.
The goals of this programme include:
• Opportunities for Traveller women to develop skills and participate in Primary Health Care.
• Identify the needs and health status of the Kilkenny Traveller community and carry out appropriate response.
• Establish Traveller participation in the promotion of health.
• Assist in the liaison between Traveller and health service providers.
• Clarify gaps in the community services delivery to Travellers.
• Ensure better access to services
• Develop strategies to encourage integration and communication between the Traveller community and the health and community services.
The health team promotes healthy lifestyles and preventative measures with an aim to improve the health status and quality of life of the Kilkenny Traveller Community. This Kilkenny Traveller Health programme is funded by the HSE and coordinated by KLP development workers.