Traveller Primary Health Care
The Traveller Primary Health Care programme is a community development peer led health initiative which is delivered by Traveller workers to their own community. The Offaly Traveller Primary Healthcare Project was initiated in 1999 and set up in 2003 as a partnership between Offaly Traveller Movement and the Health Service Executive (HSE). There are currently over 300 families engaged with this service. The 2016 Census says that there are 910 Travellers living in Offaly. These figures are likely to underestimate the actual number of Travellers living in the county.
There are 7 Traveller Community Health Workers (CHWs) employed by Offaly Traveller Movement. These are non-clinical health care professionals who are employed on a part time basis to deliver a range of health information, advocacy and advice to members of the Travelling community.
Their work programme includes:
- Ensure all eligible Traveller women are aware of the screening services available and receive information about breast cancer and cervical cancer
- To increase awareness of child health issues within Traveller families in Co. Offaly. Awareness raising of primary vaccination programme, awareness about free preschool places and other childcare options
- Raise awareness around substance misuse and services available in the community
- To build capacity and raise awareness around the issue of domestic violence within the Traveller community in Co. Offaly
- To engage and support elderly members of the Traveller community in Co. Offaly
- Ensure all eligible Traveller families receive oral health information
- Deliver health promotion information through outreach and community based programmes on various health topics including, diabetes, asthma, nutrition, smoking cessation, bereavement support, suicide prevention, physical activities and child safety.
- To organise various events to highlight and link with specific national and international health and cultural campaigns