People experiencing homelessness in Slovakia face significant financial, bureaucratic, and psychological barriers to access health care. However, access to health care is key to retaining or regaining housing, employment, and social inclusion. EQUITA addresses this important gap in the system through its mobile health clinic and legislative advocacy.
Streetmedicine for Homeless People
Region: Bratislava Region
Sector: Civil Society / Social Economy
Fields of action: Advocacy, Community development, Homelessness
Project owner: EQUITA
Responsible person: PharmDr Lucia Roussier, MPH
Our human-rights centred healthcare and advocacy programme is unique in Slovakia and directly addresses the most severe obstacles to healthcare access for people experiencing homelessness. Volunteer doctors, nurses, and medical students provide free professional care directly to clients. We also connect clients to social services and collect data to advocate for legislative changes to support homeless rights and healthcare access.
We work together with volunteer doctors, nurses, pharmacists, medical students, and a variety of volunteers – lawyers, economists, managers, and other professionals. Our team works together directly with clients under the Lafranconi Bridge in the evenings twice a week and at the low-threshold EQUITA medical clinic on Wednesday mornings.
In the last 2 years, EQUITA provided more than 2,000 medical consultations and treatments, including providing vaccinations against viral hepatitis, influenza, and COVID-19. EQUITA also tests and distributes protective equipment and manages our clients’ cases. EQUITA and its partners published a legal analysis of insurance debt policies and are part of expert ministry working groups focused on implementing strategic changes on homelessness.
The project can be replicated in any city in the Slovak Republic with volunteer health professionals from the EQUITA network. EQUITA has also developed standardised processes that can be shared and used in trainings. The project can also serve people fleeing war; it is currently implemented at the department of foreign police in Bratislava.