Traveller Health

Traveller Health - Minceirs Whiden

The All Ireland Traveller Health Study (AITHS) is the first study of Traveller health status and health needs that involve all Travellers living on the island of Ireland, North and South.

The consultation involved over 600 people throughout the regions and was completed in December 2003.

The AITHS is jointly funded by the Department of Health and Children and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (NI), with fieldwork funding support by the HSE and FAS.

Traveller Health Statistics

The life expectancy for Traveller women in 1987 was 65.3 years, 11.9 years less than settled women. In 2008, ten years on, there is little change, with Traveller women having a life expectancy of 70.1, 11.1 years less than women from the majority population.

The statistics pertaining to male Traveller life expectancy are very worrying, with an increase from the 1987 figure of 61.7 years, 9.9 less than the general population, to 61.7 years, a shocking 15.1 years less than men from within the majority community. (All Ireland Traveller Health Study)

Key Health Issues for Travellers identified during the consultation process

  • Environment and poor living conditions
  • Issues related to equality of access to, participation in and outcome of service provision
  • Right of Travellers to appropriate access to services based on culture and way of life
  • Lifestyle issues
  • Lack of culturally appropriate provision
  • Lack of data on Traveller health and health needs
  • Lack of recognition of Traveller culture and identity
  • Individual and institutional level of racism
  • Social exclusion

Traveller Health is a priority area and considerable work has been undertaken, in consolation with the interest groups, in commissioning this study. The purpose of the study is to examine the health status of Travellers, to assess the impact of the health services currently being provided, and to identify the factors which influence mortality and health status. It will provide a framework for policy development and practice in relation to Travellers.