Confucius once said: ‘The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home’
We, from the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) Program Bulgaria, would like to add that the strength also derives from the healthy future of our children. That is why our program targets young and vulnerable mothers living in poverty. Our nurses and midwives provide support, care and new knowledge to future parents by offering more than 60 home visits per family beginning with the pregnancy and continuing until the child reaches two years of age.
Bulgaria is the first country in Eastern Europe licensed to test the Nurse-Family Partnership Program. The methodology was developed 40 years ago by Professor David Olds and its effectiveness has been proven through multiple randomized controlled trials worldwide. The program currently operates in Australia, England, Canada, Norway, United States, Northern Ireland and Scotland and produces consistent results such as:
- Improved prenatal health;
- Improved pregnancy outcomes;
- Fewer accidents and injuries among children;
- Fewer cases of child abuse and neglect;
- Increased spacing between pregnancies;
- Increased employment rate among mothers;
- Improved school readiness;
- Decreased likelihood of involvement in criminal activities up to 15 years of age
In 2015 the Trust for Social Achievement Foundation became licensee and began with the program implementation in Bulgaria. The organization successfully secured the required funding for the first two program stages that focus on the adaptation to the Bulgarian context and the program’s pilot testing. The license includes the provision of services to 200 low-income families by a team of 10 full-time home-visiting nurses and midwives and 4 full-time mediators.
Nurse-Family Partnership is managed by a Clinical Leader and supported by Data Analyst, Project Coordinator and an international implementation team at the University of Denver under the guidance of Professor David Olds. Additional support is provided by National and Local Advisory Boards that contribute to the quality of performance, sustainability and integration of the service into the health care system.
In August 2016, in partnership with Second Specialized Obstetrics and Gynaecology Hospital for Active Treatment Sheynovo, NFP began work with its first families in Sofia (http://www.sheynovo-ag.eu/). The team in the capital city receives psychological and social consultations from specialists of the Health and Social Development Foundation (http://www.hesed.bg/). We also partner with the Open Society Institute which carries out the feasibility and acceptability study of the program in the country. (http://www.osf.bg/). In February 2018 we started preparation for implementing the home visiting service in Bulgaria’s second most populous city - Plovdiv.
So far we have learned that achieving a significant change in the health outcomes of vulnerable mothers and children requires the creation of a supportive environment in terms of regulatory and institutional framework. Therefore, the Trust for Social Achievement maintains an active dialogue with its partners to provide crucial access to:
- Free prenatal care for all insured and uninsured women;
- Free medicines for pregnant women and children living in poverty;
- Long-term and intensive home visiting care for pregnant women and mothers at risk;