Doubling Syndemics: Ethnographic Accounts of the Health Situation of Homeless Romanian Roma in Copenhagen – Københavns Universitet

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09. december 2017

Doubling Syndemics: Ethnographic Accounts of the Health Situation of Homeless Romanian Roma in Copenhagen

For the first time ever, Harvard has published a whole special issue about the Romani People. The Health and Human Rights Journal has dedicated their 19.2 issue to this specific area, and Ph. D. fellow Camilla Ida Ravnbøl has contributed with the article 'Doubling Syndemics: Ethnographic Accounts of the - Health Situation of Homeless Romanian Roma in Copenhagen'.

Her study investigates health concerns and access to health services for Roma from Romania who live in homelessness in Copenhagen, Denmark. They collect refundable bottles and call themselves "badocari", which in Romanian refers to "people who work with bottles". Homeless Roma in Denmark have not previously been studied through ethnographic research. Camilla Ida Ravnbøl's study stresses the importance of a syndemic approach towards understanding badocari health concerns. Syndemics is understood as co-occurring diseases, which unfold within contexts of social injustice. The case of the badocari is argued to be a case of "doubling syndemics" since the co-occurring diseases are further multiplied and enhanced by an ongoing mobility between dual contexts of precarious livelihoods in Romania and Denmark, respectively. Her study complements the approach to syndemics with a perspective on human rights. It sheds light on the limited possibilities that exist for addressing health concerns of the badocari, both in Romania and in Denmark, and argues that the universal human right to health is not realized in the everyday lives of destitute EU migrants such as the badocari. Rather, they experience lack of access to adequate medical treatment and follow-up care, both as citizens of a member state and as co-citizens of the European Union. 

Camilla Ida Ravnbøl, Doubling Syndemics: Ethnographic Accounts of the - Health Situation of Homeless Romanian Roma in Copenhagen in Health and Human Rights Journal, vol. 19, 2017.