Bugarie Santé sexuelle et reproductive



of pregnancies are aborted

25 000

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.


What we do


A woman and her three children in Nadezhda ghetto, Sliven, Bulgaria © Gaelle Girbes


In 2016

We have:

  • Provided family planning consultations to 1,512 people
  • Referred 424 women to gynaecologists

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.

Improving access to care

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.



In 2016

We helped:

  • 1,250 migrants were provided with healthcare, of whom 41 were women and 172 were unaccompanied minors
Beginning of intervention in Nadejda ghetto to improve the living conditions of inhabitants.
Action centred on hygiene, vaccination and sexuality.
Opening of information and advice centre (CIO).
The town hall commits to financing medical family planning consultations for women.
Launch of programme to support migrants in the reception and registration centres.

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