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Measuring Quality of Life in the general population and Roma minority in Romania: implications for health policies and economic evaluations

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - QoLRO (Measuring Quality of Life in the general population and Roma minority in Romania: implications for health policies and economic evaluations)

Reporting period: 2017-11-01 to 2019-10-31

Across the globe, ineffective and poor spending decisions can, and sometimes are, taken in healthcare systems. The consequences of these decisions can cause harm and waste resources in times of crisis. The situation is no different in Romania. The aim of this project was to develop a method to help Romanian authorities to make better and more transparent decisions about the provision of healthcare by taking into account people’s health-related quality of life. The results of this project can be used to guide healthcare resource allocation decisions in Romania and to help shape interventions to minimize differences in health-related quality of life between different groups of people in Romania, such as vulnerable or disadvantaged groups. By doing this we can ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent correctly and transparently in the Romanian healthcare system and that everybody in Romania, including vulnerable groups such as Roma communities, are able to achieve the same level of health-related quality of life as the general population.
As part of the QoLRo project, two surveys were conducted in the general population and Roma communities in Romania, respectively. We found out that pain and discomfort have the most detrimental effect on health-related quality of life in Romania, followed by problems with mobility. We also showed that Roma communities have a lower health-related quality of life compared with the general population. The drivers of this were problems with self-care, pain and discomfort and anxiety and depression.
Final results of the project will be published by the end of 2021 in scientific journals, like Value in Health and Quality of Life Research, and on the project’s website (https://research.ncl.ac.uk/qolro/).
To our knowledge, our project was the first one in Romania to provide robust health-related quality of life data collected from the general population and Roma communities. Additionally, it was one of the few studies to have assessed the health-related quality of life of Roma communities anywhere. Moreover, to assess health-related quality of life, it used an internationally validated questionnaire designed to do this rather than simply eliciting self-rated health.
We believe that our study’s results will encourage the development of interventions aimed at reducing health and health-related quality of life inequalities between the Roma and the general population in Romania. It will also promote a more transparent and evidence based decision-making process on the allocation of healthcare resources. Results from this project will support priority setting and the development of clinical guidelines for Romania. Finally, it will open up a new avenue for health-related quality of life research in Romania that will encourage a wider use of health-related quality of life instruments from population health surveys to studies in vulnerable groups or other disadvantaged patient populations.
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