Bulgaria: Training generalist doctors helps fill gap

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Poverty is one of the steepest byproducts of the transition from a planned to a market economy engendered by the fall of the communist regime in 1989, and the health of the population has also suffered.

MSF has been working in Bulgaria since 1997, in activities that now have a dual focus. In the town of Targovichte, MSF offers medical and social aid. Training of generalist doctors helps fill a gap left by the previous system, which cultivated primarily specialist physicians.

MSF has helped establish a training program, through which 49 local doctors have now been trained. Drugs are donated to the hospital. In Malcho Malchev, the Roma (gypsy) district of Targovichte, MSF provides basic care, and works to improve water and sanitation.

The other arm of the MSF program is in Sofia, the capital, where activities aimed at stemming the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have been underway since early 2000. An STD clinic within the University of Sofia sees more than 160 patients a month. The program emphasizes quality treatment and works to show how treatment protocols can remain effective and affordable and preserve patient anonymity.

International staff: 2

National staff: 13