Review of the scientific literature on the health of the Roma and Sinti in Italy

Ethn Dis. 2012 Summer;22(3):367-71.


Background: Roma and Sinti in Italy are excluded from the rest of society, often live in precarious housing conditions and have poor access to health services. In Italy, the Roma and Sinti minority (.3% of the overall population) is scarcely represented if compared with other European countries.

Methods: To establish what is known and how Roma and Sinti health is studied in Italy, we conducted a review of the scientific literature, including articles published between 2000 and 2010, found in Medline, Embase and Web of Science.

Results: We analyzed 15 relevant articles out of 32 references. Four papers describe rare autosomal recessive disorders. Four illustrate outbreaks of measles. The remaining papers describe health conditions suffered by this minority. All but two, however, are based on data collected at health services.

Conclusions: The lack of prevalence data and analysis of determinants is a detriment to the health of the Roma and Sinti populations in Italy. Participatory research and evidence-based interventions are needed to improve health outcomes and living conditions of the Roma and Sinti people.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Status*
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Minority Groups
  • Prejudice*
  • Roma*