New web resource aims to reduce Traveller baby disadvantage

Traveller mothers-to-be face the harshest pregnancy and birth statistics in Ireland:

 Higher rates of pregnancy loss
 Higher rates of premature births
 Lower birth weights
 Infant mortality rate that is 3.5 times the national rate

“These figures indicate that the majority of Traveller babies are effectively
disadvantaged right from conception,” said Lynsey Kavanagh project lead on Pavee

Mary Bridget Collins, Pavee Point says Traveller women are not getting the information they need.  All photos by Derek Speirs.

“The All Ireland Traveller Health Study documented that 98% of Traveller women
actually avail of maternity services.  How could maternal health outcomes then be so
poor for Traveller children?” she continued.

“Getting through the door of a maternity hospital isn’t enough. Traveller women need
to be able to understand the information they are being given and signposted to
relevant and appropriate services” said Lynsey.

Getting the Proper Information

In addressing the launch this morning Mary Bridget Collins, Assistant Co-Ordinator
Pavee Point Traveller Primary Health Care Project, challenged the current delivery of
maternal health services.

Click on image for pdf.


“Traveller women using maternity services are not actually getting the proper
information we need and can understand. These resources aim to bridge that gap.
It’s not dependent on being literate. Big words and technical terms are explained.”

‘Pavee Mothers’ has been developed by Traveller women for Traveller women.  It
takes the form of:
         A printed information pack that is not literacy based
         A Traveller friendly website that can be easily used on a mobile phone
         A text message campaign

Positive Outcomes from Traveller Primary HealthCare Projects

Martina Queally, Chairperson of the Traveller Health Unit and HSE Chief Officer
Community Healthcare East, acknowledged the work of the Traveller Primary Health
Care Projects and their effective approach in bridging the gap between Travellers
and mainstream health services.

Martina Queally, Chief Officer Community Healthcare East; Ronnie Fay , Co Director, Pavee Point and Aisling Redmond , Social Innovation Ireland.

“These resources are testament to the importance and value of health services working in partnership with Traveller groups to develop innovative solutions in addressing Traveller health inequalities.

“I’m confident that they will be of benefit to many other marginalised communities within Ireland.”

Important to work with minority groups

In launching Pavee Mothers, Professor Peter Boylan, Chairman of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and former Master of the National Maternity Hospital welcomed the resources as a much needed intervention.

“This project shows the importance of health services working with minority groups to
improve service provision.  It also helps raise awareness on the health issues facing
minority groups,” he said.

Specially Designed

Kelly Nevin, young Traveller mum says Pavee Mothers website is very easy to use when you are busy with young children.

The booklet and website are specially designed so women with low literacy can still access the information. Traveller photos and images are used throughout.  Icons dictate the website navigation and there is access to recorded information thatwomen can listen to.

Pavee Mothers is the first Traveller health initiative to blend traditional, online andmobile mediums to communicate key health messages.

Developed by Travellers for Travellers

All content was developed by Pavee Point and piloted with Traveller women on a regional and national basis.
The text message campaign was piloted with pregnant Traveller women in the
Eastern Region Traveller Health Unit which covers counties Dublin, Wicklow and
Kildare and a Traveller population of 8000.

Thank you to everyone who came to our launch.
Tessa Collins, Pavee Point with Mary Nevin Westmeath Traveller Primary Healthcare Project.
(L to R) Lisa Hayes, student; Kate Burke Medical Social Worker, Arathi Noronha, H Dip Co-Ordinator all from the Coombe Hospital, Dublin.

At a national level, workshops took place to generate feedback and inform each
dimension of the resource. Clinical information was developed in consultation with
maternity service providers from the three maternity hospitals in Dublin.

“Traveller Primary Health Care Projects are vital in getting health information to the
Traveller community,” said Ronnie Fay, Co-Director Pavee Point.

“We know from the All Ireland Traveller Health Study that 83% of Travellers receive
health information from Traveller organisations.  This is something that needs to be
built on and resourced.”

Geraldine McDonnell, Parish of the Travelling People; Tessa Collins, Pavee Point; Kelly Nevin, Winnie McDonald, Pavee Point; Christine McDonagh, Blanchardstown Primary Health Care and Anita Pannell, Limerick Traveller Health Project.
Sylvia Hand, Traveller Primary Healthcare Worker Pavee Point speaking at the launch of ‘Pavee Mothers’ .
Anita Pannell, Limerick Traveller Health Project, Imelda Reidy, North Tipperary Leader Partnership, Ann O Driscoll, Head Advocacy Worker, Limerick Our Lady of Lourdes and Sara Ryan, Designated Public Health Nurse for Travellers, Limerick.