of pregnancies are aborted
Roma live in the Nadejda ghetto
migrants and refugees are present in Bulgaria
In Bulgaria, where the mortality rate of women in labour and the rate of abortion are twice as high as in the rest of Europe (almost one third of pregnancies are aborted in Bulgaria), the most marginalised groups are the most at risk.
«The abortion rate is twice as high as in the rest of Europe.»
In Sliven, in the Nadejda ghetto, access to care is particularly difficult for the marginalised Roma who live in conditions of extreme hardship. 77% of them are not covered by social security. In 2014, the hospital at Sliven dealt with 185 girls between the ages of 12 and 17 years old who were giving birth. And although abortion is legal in Bulgaria, it is still expensive and therefore, just like contraception, it is out of reach for the vast majority of those living in Nadejda.
Bulgaria has not been spared from the current migrant crisis in Europe and faces significant numbers of asylum seekers. They have grown in number from 800 to over 5,500 between the summer and winter of 2016. They face violent reactions, with civil society taking a very negative view of their presence in Bulgaria. Upon arrival, the migrants are accommodated in one of the country’s six reception and registration centres, (RRC), in overcrowded, unhealthy conditions with poor standards of hygiene. The very limited number of doctors present greatly reduces access to care.
Since the start of 2004, Doctors of the World has managed an information and advice centre on sexual and reproductive health in the ghetto. The residents are educated as to the importance of family planning and informed of their rights to public health services. They can also find modern contraceptives free of charge (IUDs, the pill, condoms). They also deal with getting families to leave the ghetto and go into town for gynaecological consultations and family planning. Residents of other poor villages in the vicinity can also visit this centre and obtain advice and support.
Doctors of the World has launched a project to help migrants in Bulgaria. Three mobile medical teams were set up to provide an immediate response to the current increase in medical need. They come to the assistance of the doctors already working in the reception and registration centres, to improve the quality of primary healthcare, referencing and access to treatment. Particular attention is paid to the protection of unaccompanied minors and a hygiene and sanitation component, to complete the care offering.
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