BRC and WHO with a joint project to support Ukrainian citizens in Bulgaria
Bulgarian Red Cross and the Bulgarian office of the World Health Organization (WHO) started work on a joint project for health assistance to Ukrainian citizens who sought protection in our country. It is called “Support of BRC from WHO for citizens of Ukraine” and will be implemented in the Sofia, Varna and Burgas regions. The project includes activities for purchasing medicines, medical devices, covering costs for tests and surgical interventions, as well as providing a medical consultant for each of the regions. The scope of the existing Contact Center for psychosocial support will be expanded in five new regions of the country – Blagoevgrad, Sofia region, Haskovo, Targovishte and Montana. Additional support will also be provided to the existing telephone line for health consultations of the BRC. The first stage of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
“I am glad that the WHO approached us so that we can together address some of the problems related to the Ukrainian crisis, especially regarding some health aspects such as medical examinations, provision of medicines and treatment,” said the Director General of BRC Prof. Dr. Krasimir Gigov during a meeting at the headquarters of the organization on the occasion of the start of the project. According to the chairman of the Bulgarian Red Cross, Academician Hristo Grigorov, it is very important, especially in the difficult times we live in, for people to know that there is someone they can count on. “Our two organizations must go together because the goals and tasks before us are common. I believe that the result of our partnership will be more than excellent, because here you will be working with some of the best specialists”, stressed Academician Grigorov. For his part, the WHO representative in Bulgaria, Dr. Skender Sila, thanked the BRC for the partnership and the huge amount of work done. He also quoted the Latin saying that no one can be a better doctor than a faithful friend, “And we consider BRC as our friend,” said Dr. Silla.
He emphasized that it is the BRC that stands close to people in need and invited the organization to participate in the upcoming conference dedicated to searching and finding ways to strengthen the health system in future crises. Deputy also participated in the meeting. the general director of the BRC, Dr. Nadezhda Todorovska, the program manager of the organization’s Refugee and Migrant Service, Nela Vamporova, the public health expert at the WHO office, Assoc. Dr. Mihail Okoliyski, as well as Jennifer Melgaard and Laura Marinova, also from the WHO- Bulgaria. Prof. Mihail Okoliyski – representative of the WHO office in Bulgaria, stated in an interview for BNR:
“A very important element of our assistance is to try not to create parallel services for Ukrainians, but services that, after the end of the war in Ukraine, will remain for Bulgarian citizens as well. In this sense, our office has expanded with mental health professionals. We will try to partner the state in the mental health reform, because there is an adopted strategy for the mental health of citizens in Bulgaria, which must be implemented and which is already very late – by 2 years, there is very large funding from the Plan for recovery and resilience, and the Ministry of Health says it doesn’t have the capacity to run it.”