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Общи :: BFPA participated actively in a regional UNFPA conference

BFPA participated actively in a regional UNFPA conference

Visit BlagoevgradSofia,  May 27-29 2015

In the period 27-29 May, 2015, Sofia hosted the Regional conference “Promoting Health and Rights, Reducing Inequalities: Towards Better Sexual and Reproductive Health Outcomes in Eastern Europe and Central Asia”. The conference was focused on reducing health inequalities and promoting SRHR in 19 countries of the region. Organizers of the event were the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health and the Regional Office of UNFPA for Central and Eastern Europe.
The main goal was to present the development of policies on reproductive health, to mobilize support and investments in this area, and to exchange experiences for sustainable national policies and future cross-border cooperation in the region.

Vicky ClaeysAt the official opening, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Valentin Poriazov highlighted  that a priority for Bulgaria and the EU member states is to include the topics of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the post-2015 UN Program for Development, successor of the MDGs adopted in 2000. The concept that no one should be excluded from economic opportunities for development (known as „LeaveNoOneBehind”), will be fundamental for the post – 2015 Program for Development.  The healthcare issues will be important both as an indicator for success and as a part of the sustainable development paradigm.
Special guests of the conference were Ms. Kate Gilmore, Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA and Mr. Heimo Laakkonen, Director of UNFPA's Regional Office for Eastern and Central Europe in Istanbul, as well as Vicky Claeys, IPPF EN Regional Director. They drew attention to the need for more effort in the struggle for equal access to healthcare and for improving the quality of services offered. Participants also emphasized that today we are witnessing one of the biggest migration flows in Visit Blagoevgrad 2 history. In their opinion that increases the need to work with the different generations and to ensure access to information in the field of the sexual and reproductive health and rights.
BFPA took active role in the discussions for future policy development and assuring of and equal access to quality health care for all. The Executive Director of BFPA Dr. Radosveta Stamenkova had a presentation at the conference on the conducted by IPPF and seven member associations study in seven middle-income countries on contraceptive use and reproductive behavior and participated as a panelist in the followed discussion. Dr. Stamenkova, BFPA Program Manager Ventzislav Kirkov and few other NGO representatives took part in a separate meeting with Kate Gilmore and Heimo Laakonen on which were discussed the perspectives and challenges NGOs in Bulgaria face in the SRHR field and in development policies as a whole. At the last day of the conference BFPA hosted in its premises the visit of part of the international guests who had the opportunity to observe and discuss on place the activities of the Association.Group photo Blagoevgrad
The two UNFPA high position guests shared at the conference closing session that for them the most exciting part of their stay in Bulgaria was the site visit organized by BFPA and the National Network of Health Mediators in Blagoevgrad. There with the help of Katya kirilova and Antoaneta Eftimova they saw the reality of the Roma neighborhood without make-up. But they saw also how people work on the ground, how they overcome difficulties and that it is possible even with limited resources to make a difference in access to health care, contraception and in retaining young people in schools.  
The 140 participants from 19 countries, representing governmental bodies, parliamentarians, civil and scientific organizations, signed a declaration (Sofia Declaration of Commitment), which puts sexual and reproductive health as a fundamental priority in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Special attention was given to the commitments of the countries to the international development cooperation issues in the field of reproductive health.

The full text of the declaration could be found here.

Link to a picture gallery of the visit

 

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‘My Body, My Rights’: Health Mediators form Yambol Municipality about their work in State of Emergency Conditions

Yambol, May 2020

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‘My Body, My Rights’ – Successes and Challenges

Health mediators from Montana, Bulgaria, and their work in state of emergency
Montana, March-May 2020

Peter Cvetanov, Sonya Rumenova and Valya Alexandrova are health mediators in Montana Municipality. The three of them as a team are implementing activities part of the project of Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) – ‘My Body, My Rights’ (2018–2021). In addition to their municipality, pilot work is being done in two other locations in Bulgaria: Yambol and Sofia. The project is implemented in partnership with organizations from Serbia and Romania, with the coordinating role of International Planned Parenthood Federation and is supported by the programme for social responsible business of the company MSD via their campaign ‘MSD for Mothers’. Main goal of the initiative is to improve the conditions for ensuring quality of family planning services for vulnerable communities and to build capacity and civil responsibility within the communities.
Sonya in a health mediator from 2013. She graduated economics, married with two children: a boy and a girl: ‘Several years ago Roma women from the neighborhood didn’t see doctors for prophylactics. Part of them were not insured, others simply were living with their prejudices and fears. We had two obstetrics-gynecologists as part of the Bulgarian-swiss cooperation program ZOV. They were visiting the health center in the neighborhood according to schedule. Then we decided to form local women’s group for self support, where initially timidly, but afterwards more confidently we started talking about examinations, contraception, family planning, prevention of sexually transmitted infections... The women from the group started little by little to shake off their fears.’ They just made progress and the activities on project ended. Only  mediators remained in the health center. And then for them new opportunity arose via the project ‘My Body, My Rights’. ‘It gave us the opportunity to continue just on time. The group for self support is developing; the health center in the neighborhood is alive again.’ Sonya succeeded to motivate a poor mother of nine children for IUD insertion. Before that she tried many times, but without any success. ‘I think that she was mostly afraid of being damaged by IUD. Now I know for sure that my long-term working with this woman was not in vain.”

 
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Representatives of organizations and institutions who participated shared their working plans and the possibility of inclusion of other LAP members in joint activities. Part of the feedback was connected with the increase of fake news, including on priorities of the Partnership. The atmosphere of the event was businesslike, but with extremely well expressed solidarity and good collaboration feeling. In the debates during the meeting important actual topics were covered, such as increasing media and digital literacy of children and challenges, which we are meeting in our work with teachers with long practice on certain age and with burnout. Forming network of children and young people with innovative model of managing was discussed, which will aim decreasing the aggression of children under residential care. How to focus our work so that the efforts put to have guaranteed sustainability; science and research approach and regional and national level partnerships; the need to work together to change the environment – were among topics discussed during the event.

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Общи :: BFPA participated actively in a regional UNFPA conference