Bulgaria: New Project to Combat Syphillis

National staff : 4
International staff : 2

The MSF programme was set up in 1997 during the worst of the economic problems resulting from the transition to a market economy. The effect on the hospitals was devastating. MSF started distributing medicine and medical material to 10 hospitals in the Targovichte and Kjustendil regions.

From September 1998 onwards, medicines were also distributed to four hospitals in the Montana region. These 14 hospitals cover a population of one million people. MSF also provides technical support to medical management and is foreseeing the computerisation of the pharmacies in seven big hospitals to help manage their stocks.

MSF has been running a pilot project to combat syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases since July 1998. The programme was launched in response to the revelation that over an eight year period, the number of cases of syphilis had increased from 378 cases in 1990 to 2520 in 1998.

In Bulgaria, syphilis treatment is lengthy and expensive. Since July 1998, MSF has set up a new project in six hospitals based on a new and cheaper protocol. MSF is focusing on the importance of training health care professionals to respect the confidentiality of their patients. The team is also providing AIDS education and distributing condoms.