Midwives help 400 mothers

Since the introduction of the home-visiting service Nurse-Family Partnership in Bulgaria in 2016, initiated by the Trust for Social Achievement Foundation, 1075 parents and their children up to 2 years of age have received specialized medical care and consultations from midwives and nurses.

380 mothers, as many fathers and 315 children from Sofia and Plovdiv have actively participated in the service. For over six years, five midwives and nurses from the Sheynovo Hospital in Sofia, a long-time partner of the initiative, have been carrying out home visits and consultations for mothers up to 22 years of age who have given birth to their first baby and receive advice and guidance in the first months and years of motherhood.

In Plovdiv, the project has been implemented since 2019 together with the St. George University Hospital, where midwives and nurses also carry out home visits and consultations.

Over 13,600 home visits have been conducted over the whole period. By the beginning of 2023, around 140 families were actively involved in Sofia and Plovdiv.

The team of the service has been making systematic and long-standing efforts to have it become a state-run service and therefore duly included in the Bulgarian health care system, as the chronic deficit and huge need for this kind of care in Bulgaria, especially for women living in poorer and vulnerable neighbourhoods and communities, has become apparent over the years.

On 17 January 2023, a round table was held in Sofia on "Home-visiting Care for Vulnerable Pregnant Women and Mothers and Children under 2: International Experience and Perspectives for Bulgaria", which was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the State Agency for Child Protection, the Agency for Social Assistance, the National Centre for Public Health and Analysis, the WHO, the Ombudsman's institution, the Medical University of Sofia and the Medical University of Varna.

During the meeting the international experience with developing NFP service in other countries was presented, this time specifically focusing on the health authorities in the USA and Scotland.

Experiences of implementation by health authorities in the USA and Scotland will be presented by key figures in its implementation at local and national level - Dr Gena O'Keefe, Consultant for Baltimore’s strategy to improve pregnancy outcomes, and Carolyn Wilson, Head of Child and Maternal Health Support in the Scottish Government, responsible for implementing the programme nationally.

The forum will also present a vision for ensuring the sustainability of the piloted model of state-participated home-visiting care through implementation in the health system in the context of the priorities set out in the strategic and programme documents of the Ministry of Health until 2030 by the National Centre for Public Health and Analysis (NCPHA).