A year ago we shared with you the story of 18-year-old Maria and her baby girl Anna who only had access to medical services through a volunteer midwife visiting their neighborhood once a month. Maria dropped out of high school after she found out she was pregnant and now lives with her partner and four other family members in a small ramshackle house in Fakulteta, Sofia’s poorest and most marginalized neighborhood. Home to nearly 35,000 Roma, according to some NGO estimates, there are only three registered doctors providing services in the neighborhood. None of them attend to uninsured mothers.
We are happy to announce that since December 2019, hundreds of families like Maria and Anna’s have access to basic medical services in a newly opened health center in Fakulteta. The center, the first to provide care to uninsured patients in the neighborhood, became a reality thanks to your generosity and the partnership between the Trust for Social Achievement and the Health and Social Development Foundation, which has provided vital services to the community for 20 years and has operated a local daytime community center since 2017.
With the support of more than 100 private donors from Bulgaria, the USA, the UK and India, we succeeded in raising nearly $19,000 and purchased vital pre and post-natal medical equipment. We estimate that the health center will be able to provide care to about 250 mothers and infants in the coming year, and no mother, child or pregnant woman in need will ever be refused a medical checkup, regardless of insurance status.
Experts say that the first thousand days provide a rare opportunity to dramatically change the life outcomes of a child. In particular, access to health education and basic care results in significant gains in life quality for both mother and child. Mothers are more likely to carry their pregnancies to term and bear healthy babies, while infants are less likely to suffer neglect and abandonment. Mothers who receive medical counseling wait longer before subsequent pregnancies and are more likely to seek employment and provide care supporting their child’s emotional and physical development. Improved access to care also leads to better school readiness, reduced dependence on social welfare and decreased criminality.
The medical center still needs YOUR support to cover supplies and maintenance of the premises. Together we can make sure that no child or pregnant woman is left behind!
PLEASE DONATE NOW!