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

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

MSD LogoYAMBOL 1 Yambol, May 2020

The parents are unemployed. Several days ago one of the brothers has come from abroad, unfortunately with no money. All the family does not have the right to go out of home. They all are quarantined. One day while she is working in her cabinet Kina Asenova is hearing a kid crying on the street. She is going out to see what is happening and sees the family’s six-year old child shaking on the ground and screaming. She finds out that the boy wants a snack very much and the family cannot afford that kind of expense... She goes to the shop, buys a box of the snacks and gives it them. ‘The next day we started distributing food. We gave it away without judging people’s race. We give as well for mentally disabled and people with different diseases’.
Kina is health mediator from 2008, but she works with people on different projects from the 2000s. People trust her. Her colleagues – Atanaska Mutafova, Asen Stoyanov, Atanas Atanasov, Ivan Ivanov and the mediators from Tundja Municipality daily do work in the villages Kukorevo, Kozarevo, Veselinovo, Drazhevo, Hadjidimovo. They work all day long, even on weekends. ‘Since Bulgaria declared state of emergency because of the Covid pandemic we are every day on the field, we give information on the infection, explain them why it’s important to stay at home. We are tracking people who came back from abroad and we make sure that they follow the quarantine guidelines. We have such people in almost every village.’

YAMBOL 2They also go around places where there are no mediators. They walk around 12-13 villages trough a day. They talk with people, explaining why it is important to stay at home so that not to get sick. They give masks, disinfectants, food, provided by municipality on Warm Lunch Programme and Children Milky Kitchen. They do all this so that not to allow to people gathering at one place. For those who need it they take prescription books and supply medicines for chronically ill people.
Kina Asenova and her team work on project ‘My Body, My Rights’ of the Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA). They manage to keep up with their schedule before state of emergency was declared in the country. Part of people included in self support groups participate in distributing donations during the crisis. When it become clear that gathering much people at one place is impossible the health mediators think on how to restructure their activity. At the beginning of April with part of money they buy foodstuffs and distribute them by locations deciding when there is a need. Some of people are offended not receiving packages ‘People became more sensitive during the crisis’, Kina shares. On the project they will gravel a street, but it will happen when the tension of epidemic passes.
YAMBOL 3Here’s what the health mediator for Kozarevo village, Tundja Municipality Ivan Ivanov is saying about his work on ‘My Body, My Rights’: ‘It is very important for Roma young people to change their perception concerning family planning, to be informed in a right way and to know when and which is the true step needed so than to create a family. That’s why in my work I appeal to all young Roma people, who are to create family and to be mothers and fathers. The project is a good opportunity to reach many young people. We help them to form a family, speak about the importance of education, of getting a job, and to plan their children.’
Asen Stoyanov, health mediator in Tundja Municipality, shares: ‘I work on the project ‘My Body, My Rights’. In Yambol in the neighborhood we are 10-12000 people. We have a group for self support in the town. We explain to people about family planning, how to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies, from different sexual transmitted infections, how to look after their children, about the equal rights and obligations of men and women. Thanks to this project we reach much more people.’
MaterialsIn the middle of May in the area of Yambol Municipality there are about 70 suffering from Covid-19 in Roma neighborhoods. Three women have already died. Media frequently ask the mediators for information from field. Kina is monitoring the number of infected and knows that the illness do not target people by their ethnicity. But she mentions that the media emphasize mainly on cases in Roma neighborhood.
A huge problem for their work is the distributed in May leaflet in the neighborhoods giving fake messages using illegally the letterhead of Ministry of Health insisting that there is no Coronavirus... The mediators are asking help from the police so that to find out where this provocation comes from, without any success for now. Because of these fake messages people from the communities accuse them they are from the “other side”, that they assist the authorities to take them to hospital and to receive more money. They threaten to beat them, to set them on fire... Health mediators hope to find a way to continue their work with the help of the district governor and mayors.
Patients with Asthma Foundation, leaded by Kina, wins a project from United against Covid-19 Fund. With project funds they purchase basic food products for 150 families, as well medicines and inhalants for domestic usage. WHO is to provide them disinfectants. ‘Mass testing is required when having so much infected. Despite having our medical cabinet available though, testing is made only in hospital. We do not have enough lab technicians’.
Terska neighborhood is blocked, there is gendarmerie, policemen. At the same time there are no support and food. Health mediators are to ask help from Bulgarian food bank and Bulgarian Red Cross.
Kina Asenova and her colleagues hope that soon the cases of infected will be limited so that they will be able to come back to a normal rhythm of their work ant to finalize the activities under the project.

 

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